January 14th, 2014

Operation Mother’s Attic

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs are citing 26 unlicensed moving companies with violating state law as a result of an undercover sting code named “Operation Mother’s Attic”. The sting operation involved State Consumer Affairs investigators posing as consumers seeking to make an ordinary household move. The investigators booked appointments with suspected unlicensed movers who solicited work with online listings.

All 26 unlicensed movers booked appointments with the investigators but when they arrived at the appointed location they were surprised to find Consumer Affairs investigators, investigators from the FMCSA, agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a transportation compliance unit of the New Jersey State Police.

The 26 unlicensed moving companies face State civil penalties of $2,500 each, for soliciting intrastate moving work without a State license. Two of the companies face Federal civil penalties of $25,000 each, for allegedly having performed interstate moves without the necessary Federal operating authority. Two moving company employees were arrested by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers on site, due to outstanding warrants. Despite the requirement that moving companies keep their vehicles properly registered and insured, seven unlicensed moving companies appeared with rental trucks or a rental trailer from U-Haul, Budget, or other rental companies. State Police condemned one moving company’s truck for dangerous safety violations, including severely warn tires and leaking oil.

Eight of the unlicensed movers had listings on Craigslist. Five had listings on Angie’s List. Nine used their own websites. The rest were listed in online third-party moving websites or other Internet venues.

Unlicensed moving company caught in the sting

There is a list of the companies caught in the sting operation in the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs press release.

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