Third defendant sentenced for chameleon carrier scheme
November 17, 2021
Another domino has fallen in a 3-year-old extortion case involving 12 defendants associated with Presidential Moving and chameleon carriers.
On Nov. 4, Seth Nezat was sentenced to time served and three years supervised released for his role in the scheme. Nezat pleaded guilty to one count related to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act last November.
Nezat is just the third defendant to be sentenced. In July 2018, a dozen people were indicted on counts related to Presidential Moving’s fraud and extortion practices. Most of the remaining defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. A few are still involved in ongoing discussions with prosecutors. At least one is set for trial in April.
Presidential Moving receives 150 complaints, racks up 250 violations
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 related to pick-up/delivery, 96 were about estimates/final charges, and 77 were over shipment documents.
Investigators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Texas Department of Motor Vehicles jumped on the complaints in October 2017. The investigation reviewed 17 of the complaints. More complaints poured in during the investigation.
During the review, investigators discovered 256 violations. 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. Andrey Shuklin was listed as the owner.
In fact, Shuklin operated the companies out of multiple locations throughout the United States, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas. Companies were operated principally out of an address in Hollywood, Fla.
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 Presidential Moving was using Enterprise rental trucks.
Investigators discovered that Presidential Moving had failed to deliver household good shipments and tried to increase the price of the move after the trucks were loaded. The company also had contracts with carriers not authorized to transport household goods.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s report, Presidential Moving entered the New Entrant Program in July 2017. 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 Moving could be found to conduct the audit. In result, FMCSA placed the company out of service.
The indictment filed by the federal government does not explain how Nezat was involved. Shuklin and Serghei Verlan directed lower level employees to execute the scheme. Nezat is only named as an owner, operator or worker of what the indictment calls a “moving enterprise.” LL