Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, June 2, 2021:
Guilty plea, sentencing announced in HHG moving scheme
The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General announced court actions taken in a case related to household moving fraud.
According to OIG, Phyllis Quincoces pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to conspiring in a racketeering enterprise that defrauded more than 1,800 individuals using moving companies located throughout the United States, valued between $1 million and $3.5 million.
The same court sentenced Vladimir Pestereanu in the same case to time served, which consisted of 33 months of incarceration, 2 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
Pestereanu pleaded guilty last year to conspiring in the same racketeering enterprise as Quincoces. Quincoces and Pestereanu participated in a scheme that defrauded, extorted and stole from customers who hired certain moving companies to move their household goods, OIG says.
To obtain customers, the moving companies allegedly provided low binding estimates and promised to beat their competitors’ prices. According to the investigation, the scheme involved loading a customer’s goods onto the truck, increasing the price of the move, and holding the goods hostage until the customer paid the inflated prices.
They also charged customers for moving more cubic feet of household goods than they actually loaded and did not deliver some household goods at all, OIG added. When customers complained, the conspirators would shut down the latest iteration of the moving company and open a new one, falsifying information about the owners’ identities in order to fraudulently receive operating licenses from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Lane closures planned for I-17 near Phoenix
Drivers whose loads will take them along I-17 Southbound through Phoenix this weekend should plan for extra travel time and consider detours, as a resurfacing project will narrow the interstate to one lane.
Arizona Department of Transportation workers will narrow the interstate to one left lane between Daisy Mountain Drive and Pioneer Road in north Phoenix from 9 p.m. Friday, June 4, through 10 p.m. Saturday, June 5, for resurfacing. The southbound I-17 on-ramp at Pioneer Road will also be closed.
In addition to allowing extra time, drivers can plan to use alternate routes. If exiting southbound I-17 at Anthem Way or Daisy Mountain Drive, drivers can consider using southbound Gavilan Peak/North Valley parkways to Carefree Highway in order to reach I-17 beyond the paving work zone.
Truck parking areas along I-66 in Virginia closing temporarily
Beginning on or about Monday, June 7, the truck parking areas at the Manassas Rest Areas along I-66 EB and WB at mile marker 48 will be closed for approximately three weeks.
The closure of the truck parking areas is necessary for construction work related to the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.
Trucks, trailers, and other multi-axle vehicles will not be permitted to park at the rest areas during this time. The rest areas will remain open to passenger and other two-axle vehicles.
All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.
Catch more updates via Overdrive's Roads 511 aggregation of state DOT and 511 traveler information services: