New Jersey woman pleads guilty in U.S. District Court to wire fraud
February 12, 2021
A group of New Jersey moving companies defrauded customers for approximately $2 million, according to a ruling by the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.
Farah Al-Ibrahim and co-conspirators jointly controlled and operated the businesses known as “Target Companies” in Clifton, N.J. and Moonachie, N.J., even though they were separate legal entities.
Providing customers with “low-ball” offers before raising final costs was found to be the basis of the company’s scheme.
Once a customer contacts a moving company, the company provides the customer with a nonbinding estimate of costs pursuant to telephone or visual inventory of the goods to be moved. Final charges are based upon the actual weight of the shipment, services provided and tariff provisions. However, the final price may not increase by more than 10% of the initial estimate because of federal regulations.
From 2013 through a portion of 2015; Target Companies handled approximately 1,514 moves, 1,338 of which had final costs that were above the permissible 10% increase over initial estimates, according to the court’s ruling. Additionally, customers were often required to pay a deposit for services by credit card.
Target Companies concealed the conspiracy by creating the various companies, which were often registered through fictitious owners with fictitious addresses, all to avoid detection by law enforcement, according to court records.
Al-Ibrahim entered a guilty plea for her role in the conspiracy to commit fraud scheme on Feb. 22, 2019.
On Jan. 25, Al-Ibrahim, a sales manager and bookkeeper for Target Companies, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $75,193 in restitution for knowingly conspiring to obtain money and property from victims by means of false pretenses. LL