Moving company owner pleads guilty to racketeering charge
February 15, 2021
Andrey Shuklin, owner of several moving companies, has pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge for a scheme that involved fraud, extortion and theft from customers.
On Jan. 25, Shuklin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. The Florida man was indicted in July 2018 for defrauding customers of his many moving company businesses. In total, 12 people were indicted for the scheme. More than a dozen moving companies were identified in the indictment.
Beginning operations in August 2017, Presidential Moving accumulated 83 complaints in 2017 and 64 complaints in 2018 before being placed out of service in March 2018 after failing to submit to a new entrant audit. Of the nearly 150 complaints, 109 were in regards to pick-up/delivery, 96 were about estimates/final charges, and 77 over shipment documents.
Investigators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Texas Department of Motor Vehicles moved against the moving company complaints in October 2017. The investigation reviewed 17 of the complaints. More complaints came in during the investigation.
During the review, investigators discovered 256 violations with the moving company. Violations ranged from the mundane (e.g., 17 occurrences of failing to prepare a receipt in the form and manner prescribed) to the more egregious (e.g., unauthorized brokering and demanding more money than the agreement).
Investigators also suspect that Presidential Moving was a reincarnation of at least nine other motor carriers, including National Moving and Storage, Family Logistics, National Relocation Van Lines, Spartan Moving and Storage, Public Moving Services, U.S. Relocation Systems, Prestige Van Lines and Satellite Logistics. All of those companies are either not authorized or placed out of service. Andrey Shuklin was listed as the owner.
A search at the Better Business Bureau’s website shows another moving company owned by Shuklin, United National Moving and Storage. That company also is listed as out of business.
Two people are listed as either the owner or CEO of Presidential Moving. Shuklin is listed as the IT coordinator. Another person interviewed during the investigation, Phyllis Ricci, was listed as the customer service manager, the same title she held at United National Moving and Storage, which was owned by Shuklin.
Despite declaring ownership of 20 straight trucks in its MCS-150 and 28 term leased straight trucks, investigators never found any such trucks. Rather, evidence suggested the Presidential was using Enterprise rental trucks for its moving company operations.
Investigators discovered that Presidential had failed to deliver household good shipments and tried to increase the price of the move after the trucks were loaded. Presidential also had contracts with carriers not authorized to transport HHG.
One Presidential representative told an investigator to stop by on a specific day to obtain copies of the carrier’s tariff. However, when investigators stopped by, no one was there. The representative also informed investigators that the owner was out of the country.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s report, Presidential Moving entered the New Entrant Program in July. However, the company had not been part of a safety audit at the time of the investigation.
After the investigation, a safety audit was recommended. However, no one from Presidential could be found to conduct the audit. In result, FMCSA placed the company out of service.
The scheme defrauded more than 1,800 victims for an amount estimated to be between $1.5 million and $3.5 million.
Sentencing for Shuklin has not been scheduled as of publication. The remaining defendants have not entered a plea.
FMCSA advises those planning to hire a mover to check the Protect Your Move portal at the FMCSA website. Consumers can look up carriers and see how many complaints have been filed. To access the portal, click here. LL