An operations manager for California household good mover has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for participating in a “low ball estimate” scheme, as part of a more than 10-year federal investigation.
On April 2 Asaf Nass of AY Transport also received three years supervised release and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment by the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. He was also ordered to pay restitution, which will be determined at a later date.
A joint investigation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other federal agencies found AY Transport participated in the plan with National Moving Network, a household goods broker located in Miami, Fla.
NMN estimators artificially quoted customers low estimates to move their household goods, then referred a majority of the moves to AY, according to the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General. Upon taking custody of a customer’s goods, AY employees raised the price, typically at Nass’ direction.
“The increased fees for release of the goods sometimes totaled two to three times the amount of the original bid provided by NMN.,” said the office in a release. If customers refused to pay the fees, their goods were sometimes held in storage lockers, and occasionally, Nass instructed AY employees to sell the customers’ goods at auction.
In February, Randy Goldberg, former owner and president of NMN, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, San Jose, California, to 18 months incarceration, followed by one year of supervised release in connection with the moving scheme.
In 2012 at least four other people who worked for NMN or AY Transport were sentenced for their roles.
The OIG began investigating owners and employees of National Moving Network and AY Transport in 2002.