The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General recently announced court activity in four trucking-related crime investigations. Here’s a summary of what happened with each:
HHG moving company owner sentenced
Shedrick Giles, owner of Fast Movers Delivery Service, was sentenced March 2 to a year and two days imprisonment, 40 hours of community service and ordered to pay $144,007 in restitution to his victims in a household goods theft scheme involving multiple companies.
Giles’ company was using addresses in both Georgia and New York, and he was identified as a co-conspirator with Tasheen “Ty” R. Pickett, owner of J&P Moving, based in Sumter, S.C. According to the OIG, J&P never received authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to transport HHG.
After acquiring jobs, J&P and others dispatched trucks and movers to various locations, loaded the household goods into the trucks and then never returned the goods to the owners. When an owner would contact the movers for their goods, the companies would give excuses for the delivery failures or promise delivery at a later date, but the goods would never be delivered.
Giles and Pickett used the same scheme to fraudulently obtain money and household goods from victims. In January, Pickett was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $427,000 in restitution.
Former international fugitive sentenced in Texas for evading motor fuel taxes
Yousef Ishaq Abutier was sentenced Feb. 24 to seven years in prison for evading motor fuel taxes.
Abutier was previously charged by both the federal government and the state of Texas for his involvement in a scheme to evade fuel taxes by falsely representing that fuel he and others obtained would be exported or used for tax-exempt purposes.
Abutier and his associates obtained more than 13 million gallons of fuel in Louisiana without paying the appropriate tax. The fuel was taken to Houston, Texas, where it was blended with other combustible waste products and sold as tax-paid diesel.
He was convicted in a 2008 trial, but fled to Israel after his conviction where he was jailed on unrelated charges. In September 2015, Israel transferred him to the U.S. In addition to his sentence for evading taxes, he will also serve seven years for bail jumping violations, which he will serve concurrently.
Abutier is also expected to be transferred to federal custody to face sentencing on conspiracy charges.
Moving company owner sentenced in bait-and-switch fraud scheme
Louis Massaro of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Pompano Beach, Fla., has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $80,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, failure to return household goods, and aiding and abetting.
Massaro owned and operated Moving and Storage, Inc., which did business as Neighbors Moving and Storage. He advertised as a moving company, but he was a broker of these services without disclosing that fact to customers.
From approximately August 2010 to October 2012, Massaro and his co-conspirators operated a bait-and-switch operation in which his company would provide low-ball estimates to customers for moving their HHG, then would falsely tell customers that upon payment of a deposit and a binding fee, the price would be guaranteed. The customers weren’t informed the move would be done by another company.
While conducting the move, the co-conspirators would tell the customer their goods weighed more than what was included in the binding quote, which would increase the price of the move by thousands of dollars, according to the OIG. Drivers were told not to deliver the goods until full payment was made.
N.Y. doctor indicted for fraud in connection with DOT medical examinations
Dr. Gerald Surya was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 3 for fraud in connection with identification documents.
He practiced medicine at JFK Medport inside JFK Airport, and the OIG investigation revealed he had knowledge and approved the use of unqualified medical assistants and interns in conducting DOT medical exams at Medport.
The assistants and interns allegedly forged Surya’s name on medical exam forms and certificates, even though he wasn’t present for the exams.
For more on the charges against Surya, see Overdrive‘s report here.