Unholy Trinity: South Florida, The Moving & Storage Industry, and The Mafia

Disclaimer: The following narrative covers a lot of people, both living and dead. While “truth” is the goal of any non-fiction writer, I understand better than most the massive grey moat surrounding the word “truth.” If you notice anything that is incorrect or misinterpreted in the passages below, I am willing to consider revising it. However, I have months of research and an Excel sheet full of public filing data backing up every single assertion herein, and I’ve read enough libel court cases to know that I’m well within my First Amendment rights to publish the following accounts.


“Ever since the ruthless Chicago mobster Al Capone bought a mansion on Miami’s Palm Island in 1928, South Florida has been a destination for organized crime figures who want to relax and do a little business…loan-sharking, extortion and gambling have largely given way to stock scams, money laundering and white-collar fraud — and the Italians and Jews of yore have been joined by rival contingents from Russia, Israel and South America.”  

-March 20, 2010, Peter Franceschina and Jon Burstein, Sun Sentinel


5.5 Million Neighbors and Counting

Neighbor….the word carries such ambivalence. They live a mile away in rural America, and a foot behind your bathroom mirror in the city. In South Florida, the term takes on a special meaning, because South Florida is a cesspool, both literally and figuratively.

It is a literal cesspool because the whole area was built in a swamp, and a system of canals and retention ponds were constructed to alleviate flooding. The average elevation in Florida is 6ft, and in South Florida it is less than 3-4 ft. Parts of South Florida are already witnessing eerie flooding, with water coming out of storm drains during heavy tidal seasons in the fall and spring, and some models show a lot of valuable real estate under water by 2100. The highest points in South Florida are two things: bridges and mountains of garbage. Amazingly, the region still smells better than New Orleans.

It is a figurative cesspool because there are almost 6 million people (counting unregistered immigrants) crammed into a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades. For outsiders, South Florida is defined as the tri-county area spanning from West Palm Beach down through Miami-Dade County, and there were over 5.5 million people living there as of the most recent census.

To put it into context, we’re talking the populations of metro Denver stuffed into the boundaries of Miami-Dade, metro Austin packed into Broward, and metro Memphis spread throughout Palm Beach. If South Florida were its own state, it would be the 21st largest state by population. Amazingly, Florida would remain #4 without it. Living in such a confined space is bound to bring out the worst in people.

Possessing the 2nd largest wealth gap in the United States (Miami itself is 3rd among major cities), South Florida is a crucible of garbage from all over the country. Jimmy Buffett rednecks ditch Dixie for a permanent vacation. New England senior citizens retreat to the yearlong warmth of the only tropical climate in the country. Midwesterners occasionally make their way to a place where the only familiarity is a proliferation of evangelical megachurches. West Coasters are there, but they never shut up about how much better the California-to-Vancouver stretch is…

Here’s a riddle:
Q: When is dirty also shiny?
A: When it’s greasy.

…and South Florida is greee-eee-eeasy.

You’re judged on the car you drive (and how many).

You’re judged on the clothes you wear (and how tight).

You’re judged on the substances you abuse (and how often).

You’re judged on the clubs you go to (and who you bring).

Those clubs are built, prosper, struggle, close, and left empty until the arrival of new management or the next property boom.

Education is imported or outsourced, sex and drugs are exported and ingested, Spanish is the primary language, and insurance premiums reflect a driving culture that can only be described as batshit crazy.

Public beaches, the one redeeming element of tropical squalor, are covered in cigarette butts, washed up cartel packages, and body parts…


A Scammer Darkly in the Sunshine State

There’s another thing that South Florida is known for: The Scam.

The Federal Trade Commission’s 2012 Sentinel Report ranked Florida #1 in the nation for fraud and identity theft complaints. According to the report, 9 of the top 10 worst cities for identity theft are located in Florida. This is partially a result of all the retirees having their SSN hacked and exploited, but there are plenty of young people being misled by confidence men and pyramid organizations right there in South Florida.

2012 saw the completion of a 3-year bust of 85 people and over a billion dollars in restitution. Legit, public companies (Clean Coal Technologies and Sure Trace Security Corporation) and questionable, private Ponzi Schemes (MDN Financial Group, IC&I Group, De Forcade, etc.) were all taken down together. It’s no surprise to learn that South Florida helped stage the work of Scott Rothstein, Nevin Shapiro, and the infamous Bernie Madoff.

Well-orchestrated scams usually involve something people need (like utilities with ACN), or at least want a lot (like health products from ViSalus). It helps to be in an industry where your customers are on strict deadlines. It would further help if the industry operated in the cracks between state and federal regulations, meaning that complaints would rarely lead to investigation since the “rules” being broken aren’t “laws.” Basically any Multi-Level Marketing (or MLM) business fits in these categories, but there is a seemingly legitimate industry that takes advantage of something that everyone does at least once: Moving.

It’s no mystery that moving sucks. Daydreaming about living in a new city or in a new apartment is fun until you start planning the logistics of doing so. Moving has strict deadlines, it is a complex and expensive process, and there is a lot of collateral at stake. Moving frequently requires the hiring of a third party, since the only other alternative would be to rent your own truck and recruit your friends or neighbors to help. As it turns out, neighbors are the one group of people you’d want to avoid…

…because of these guys: Neighbors Moving & Storage.

This company is responsible for making countless peoples’ lives a living hell during the moving process, and yet complaints continue to roll in because Neighbors remains in business. Make no mistake, Neighbors Moving & Storage is a microcosm of South Florida life, a company that truly encapsulates the peninsula’s spirit of selfishness, materialism, and general misanthropy. Neighbors is also just one star in a constellation of liars all over the country, so let’s start connecting the dots.


The Moving Broker Loophole

First you have to understand Neighbors Moving & Storage as a legal entity. Technically, Neighbors was the DBA name for the now-defunct USXLP Inc. according to FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). They were a carrier authorized for hire to haul non-hazmat household goods within the state of Florida, but Neighbors still exists and the website also advertises long distance moves, which wouldn’t be allowed under that operational capacity. Clicking on the long-distance link sends you to a different website, which presumably is handled by a different team. As it turns out, this aspect of the company isn’t considered part of the moving infrastructure at all. Nope, this is when Neighbors becomes a “moving broker.”

Brokers are the ultimate middle men in American capitalism. In finance, brokers package unwanted stocks with desirable ones and peddle them to the highest bidder. In real estate, brokers take a substantial cut for merely interfacing between purchasers and sellers, and their fee is often higher than the amount of money they “save” consumers. All in all, brokers are not necessarily useless people, they just probably consider themselves more important than truly useful people like doctors and farmers. When it comes to the moving and storage industry, brokers are total bastards.

Let me be clear: moving brokers have zero responsibility to their customers or their customers’ property. They advertise astonishingly low rates on their websites and promise a fast, painless, and reliable move to your new destination. However, the estimates you get from those brokers are never, and I repeat… NEVER… accurate.

You’re probably thinking it’s the nature of the industry, right? They’re called “estimates” for a reason. Unless you pack and weigh everything yourself, you can’t know the actual amount you’ll end up paying (which is based on $/lb). But the reality is that the physical movers who show up and take your things always charge more (far more) than the broker’s initial estimate, and therein lies the rub.

For instance, consider this story from Denver. Neighbors Moving & Storage was known for brokering to the physical movers, A Golden Hand Moving LLC (aka Movers USA LLC). The physical moving company was owned and operated by the collusion of co-owner and CEO Yaron “Roni” Levin, co-owner and COO Liat “Lee” Levin, and their lead drivers and foremen, Francisco Guevara and John Allen Darby.

A Golden Hand drew the ire of the U.S. Attorney’s office in January of 2012 after customers supplied video evidence showing the delivery of broken belongings that were late and left outside a residence. Videos also showed a warehouse full of various peoples’ personal property being held ransom, and this prompted an indictment.

In December 2013, Levin pled guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, one of five total federal counts for which he was initially charged. Neighbors and Worldwide Van Lines (of Delray Beach, FL) were listed as the brokers responsible for supplying Levin the “leads,” but to my knowledge nothing ever came of that. During the investigation it was discovered in paperwork that customers were charged 102% to 351% increases from the original estimates.

The federal action taken against Levin is hopefully a sign of action to come, but such progress will prove sluggish since the American legal system is hit-or-miss on things like this. The federal government would rather lock up victimless criminals for the mandatory minimum sentence. Nobody even knows what wire fraud is, and as far as I know Levin is still a free man living in Coral Springs, FL.

Meanwhile, the FMCSA suspended a collection of movers in Florida for a year (Allegiant Van Lines, Northern Van Lines, and Northeastern Vanlines, Inc.), along with one moving company in South Carolina (United West Moving and Storage, Inc.) and another in Maryland (Direct Movers, Inc.). Again, note that nobody was put behind bars for fraud, just told they can’t do business until the same time next year.

During the investigation, an important discovery was made, namely that Allegiant’s owner also owned and operated Northern, Northeastern, and United West. This is important information, because it demonstrated how moving & storage entrepreneurs create entire networks, not a singularly accountable office. Although all three collected over 100 complaints in FMCSA’s database (quite a bit), they are only facing about $31,000 in fines.


The Moving & Storage Business Model

Levin’s bait and switch technique and the Allegiant multi-tiered ownership model are popular with most of these moving & storage companies, which defines the central business model of this predatory industry.

Here’s the Moving & Storage Business Model, in a nutshell:

  1. Create a friendly-sounding Limited Liability Corporation (e.g. Neighbors Moving & Storage) with tiered brands that may or may not be legally connected. If it’s done right, even you won’t know what you own. Make sure that these tiered brands include some endearing cliche (e.g. Neighbors, Father & Sons, All My Sons, My Three Sons, etc.). This will secure the trust of everyday Americans who value things like family and community.
  2. Take calls and provide online estimates at the primary LLC, but make sure to outsource the physical labor to your tiered brands. This way, your call center (which shares your host LLC’s brand and corporate designation) can’t be held accountable for the actions of your tiered brands, and vice versa.
  3. When your physical movers show up at your client’s place, have them load everything onto the truck as fast as possible and get it weighed. This weight will always be higher than the initial estimate, so get your paperwork in order. Upon arrival at the new residence, tell your crew to quote the new price to the customer. Tell your foreman to smirk a lot. That’ll drive the client crazy.
  4. Conflict will inevitably arise. When customers try calling your primary LLC to complain of bad service, blame the mover. If the customers are asking the mover too many questions, get the mover to refer them back to the call center. Nine times out of ten, the customer will give up and pay the new price.
  5. If the customer refuses to pay the new price, get the crew to drive away and hide the customer’s belongings in one of your warehouses. That’s the “storage” aspect of the company’s name.
  6. Make sure that your common laborers, who might be empathetic to the customer, are brainwashed by their managers. Tell the managers to justify the whole ordeal by telling common laborers “Look, those people refused to pay a price that they agreed to with the broker who assigned us the job. We don’t owe them anything, they owe us!”
  7. This will lead to high personnel attrition due to a general crisis of morale. Have a training program in place that can have new employees on the phones within a week, and be sure to reward long-standing brokers with “promotions” by simply changing their title and giving them a nominal bonus for securing initial deposits.
  8. Actively use review sites like MyMovingReviews.com and Yelp! to maintain a close watch on your brands. If there are too many negative reviews in a row, create an account to add a positive one. Better yet, hire someone to do this for you, and have that person also review other things so that it appears that the positive reviews for your companies are coming from legitimate former customers, not a plant.
  9. When a brand gets washed out from too much negative attention, whether it be from the government or consumers, scrap it in favor of a new, flashy one (e.g. Mover Nation, Movers of Seattle, etc.).
  10. In other words – Get in, get out, and get paid.

Neighbors Moving & Storage is such a good case study, we’ll continue with it. I think you’ll be surprised by just how large and invasive the company’s operations are.


What’s in a Name…or an Address?

Under the FMCSA household goods program, there are two inactive carrier records for Neighbors, both of which are in Pompano Beach, FL, and one registered carrier record in Tukwila, WA. The addresses associated with each are below:

  • 3155 North Andrews Ave. Ext Pompano Beach, FL 33064
  • 1571 West Copans Road, Suite 101 Pompano Beach, FL 33064
  • 18409 Cascade Ave S Suite E, Tukwila, WA 98188

Only the Washington office has any trucks listed with the FMCSA, and even at that they only have 10, which is small for a self-described ‘interstate mover.’ Furthermore, the Washington office (the only registered carrier record for Neighbors) is under a safety threshold probation and has been cited with one or more serious violations in the past year, so those 10 trucks are under close observation by a federal agency.

The Florida offices for Neighbors accrued 115 complaints from 2009-2013, which is staggering for the FMCSA, an agency that you likely didn’t even know existed. Even though the Florida offices are no longer registered with the FMCSA, the South Florida Neighbors Moving Services Inc. broker network is still in operation.

Digging deeper, one realizes that someone else is registered at that first Pompano Beach address at 3155 North Andrews Extension, and that company is Mover Nation LLC. Mover Nation, which was incorporated in the state of Florida in 2012, is one of the new guises of Neighbors Moving & Storage.

It should come as no surprise that they already have 4 FMCSA complaints in 2014 and 9 from 2013. The 3155 North Andrews Extension address has also been linked to Nice Guy Movers, Gautier USA, Inc., and USXLP, Inc. Nice Guy Movers was sold in 2010 to USXLP. If you remember, USXLP, Inc. was the legal name for the DBA Neighbors Moving & Storage, but USXLP’s mailing address with the Better Business Bureau wasn’t even in Florida. It was at 8400 E. Crescent Pkwy. #150, Greenwood Village, CO.


Suffering From Bad PR? A $125 Filing Gets You a Clean Slate

Mover Nation LLC is a classic rebranding maneuver. Reputable and trustworthy American companies are proud of their name and hold onto it for generations. A public relations professional once noted that a lady called her one day using a 16 year old ad in the Yellow Pages, saying that if her company has been at the same address with the same name for that long it must be worth checking out. I tend to agree. A good company uses its name to fuel its value (think Apple, Husqvarna, and Rolex), and vice versa, while a disreputable firm lives in fear of two things: the IRS and its last customer.

In a sense, though, Mover Nation is dutifully carrying on its brand expectations. Just look at reviews of its operations in South Florida. The words “broker, ” “scam,” and “bait and switch” turn up a lot. Furthermore, I am dubious as to the veracity of the positive reviews. They’re consistently vague, never referring to specific dates, people, and amounts of money exchanged, which all the negative reviews consistently highlight. Also, negative reviews are extremely negative – they all assign one of five stars on MyMovingReviews.com, mainly because you can’t assign zero stars. However, the good reviews are all 4-5 stars, and there are no 3-star reviews at all (although those 4-5 star reviews do bring the average up to that level).

So, we’re to assume either nobody has had a “so-so” experience with Mover Nation, or that someone is trying to shift their image in a different direction. Is MyMovingReviews hiring people to give Mover Nation bad reviews, and if so, what would they hope to gain by that?

Funny enough, the moving reviews website has been accused of that very thing. A Neighbors coalition (including MBM Moving Systems, Colonial Van Lines, Father & Son Moving and Storage, American Van Lines, and Nationwide Relocation Services) recently fought their negative image in a Massachusetts U.S. district court.

The opinion, released on March 12, 2014, decided that Neighbors’ case against the owners of MyMovingReviews.com held some water, and that some tricky editing might have taken place. However, the opinion also shows that the ruling judge doesn’t trust Neighbors, as he states that a specific subsection of the lawsuit can’t be decided yet because it relies on “a showing of good faith” and “the plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged bad faith.”

Regardless of who is deleting whose reviews and who is reviewing themselves to make their company appear less shitty, the plaintiffs (Neighbors) didn’t mention their new company (Mover Nation) in the suit. Make no mistake, Mover Nation is owned and operated by the same person who owns Neighbors Moving & Storage. I know this because Mover Nation’s principal and President, Louis Massaro, also owns the majority share in Neighbors.

The operational confusion here is all part of the smoke screen. Take the 2012 case in Denver, when an elderly lady was told by Father & Sons Moving & Storage that she owed an additional $9,000 before she could get her things out of storage. She took her original broker, Neighbors, to court. She won, but the delivery of her belongings (valued at over $100,000) was intentionally delayed by the company.

She took Neighbors back to court a few months later, won again, and got a deliver date pinned down within 5 minutes of showing the staff at Neighbors Moving & Storage the court order. Of course, Neighbors never accepted any blame for their bullying tactics. The manager of that office called the entire ordeal a result of “accounting delays” and issues with prior ownership.


The Veil of Anonymity…

So, who is really behind all this? Telefirms frequently protect their employees’ identity by requiring the use of fake names. There are no names on the websites in question, and emails exchanged with the company usually share as little info as possible so that sometimes all you get is a first name and last initial.

For example, here are some of the Neighbors employees mentioned on MyMovingReviews.com as of last year: Luis/Louis Coradin, Seth Beitler, Nate Egerton, Don, Ron Wasserman, R. Doucette, Keisha, Jay Mays, Joe Johnson, Frank, Edwin, Fred O’Neal, Albert Crocker, Vans Johnson, Arthur, Chris C., Giselle H., Prunett B., Antonio, Shawn Thompson, Richard Roman, Karl Williamson, J. Wilson…. Most of those people either never existed or are gone by now.

But those people are just drones. What we need to do is figure out who is behind the business itself. Journalists are told to “follow the money.” The Wire told us that’ll get you in a lot of trouble, but it’s the best way to determine the sources of corruption.

When you can’t follow money, you can always follow the document trail, which is easily done for such a regulatory and litigious magnet like Neighbors Moving & Storage. Once you have actual names from those documents, everything starts to fall into place, because the veil of anonymity…


…Ends at the Internet

The infinitely useful stalker tool known as Facebook can help shed some light on the real personalities behind the company. Neighbors Moving & Storage’s Facebook page is a good place to start, and we can see a few people consistently “liking” posts on the company’s wall. One girl is in Fort Lauderdale, another one is likely part of the Washington office, because.. well, she’s in Washington.

Facebook tells us that Leo Shifrin, listed as Secretary of USXLP on filings, has thumbed his support for the Neighbors Facebook page. He was also a registered officer for CBA, Inc. (whose principal address was in Centennial, CO) before withdrawing from the Incorporation in 2007. As it turns out, Shifrin is no stranger to the web. There is a vindictive blog aimed at his entire family, some of whom are also listed affiliates to USXLP, Inc. By his own admission on Facebook, he looks like Jon Favreau.

Facebook also turned up a few likes from Francis Margaglione, President of Neighbors Moving Services, Inc. (according to LinkedIn) and also CEO and President of Father and Son Property Management, Inc. (according to Facebook). Margaglione’s friend list included the President of Long Island Moving & Storage, which has an A+ rating with the BBB, even though Yelp reviews suggest otherwise.

At the time, Francis was also friends with at least 23 employees of the Isle of Capri Casino in Pompano Beach. I’m not really implying anything by that last bit, other than the guy must go there enough to be Facebook friends with that many of the employees. If it’s of any interest, that particular chain of casinos has also earned the hatred of Yelpers and bloggers. Hey, it’s all about the company you keep, right?

According to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations, Francis Margaglione is linked to various properties and companies all over the state of Florida, not the least of which being Neighbors Moving Services, Inc. (an active record dating from 2012), Father and Son Moving of South Florida (inactive since 2007), and lesser known My Three Sons, Inc. (inactive since 1995). My Three Sons wasn’t around long, but it was around long enough to destroy someone’s belongings. There was also a John Margaglione who is linked to a Father & Son, Inc. of Ft. Myers, but that trail is only circumstantially connected based on two names.


There May Not Be Icebergs in Florida, But Florida is the Tip of One

Two other people listed as officers for USXLP, Inc. (the Neighbors shell corporation) are Principal-President, Jason M. Price, and a customer service affiliate, Acacia Deprist. Price is associated with two addresses, one in Centennial, CO (on Arapahoe Rd. – same as Shifrin) and another at the 3155 N Andrews Ave office we’re all familiar with in Pompano Beach.

His Facebook profile included some random post on how to pack moving boxes, and he ‘liked’ a video posted by King Moving & Storage in Fort Collins, CO. A similarly named company is now screwing over people as far away as Coral Springs, but it appears to be separate from the Neighbors family of movers. Oh, and Price attended Cherry Creek High School, which is in Greenwood Village, CO (another familiar address). No other formal record for Ms. Deprist could be located, so although I found her on Facebook, my digging stops there.

Although Price may have thought himself the mastermind in Colorado, activity elsewhere suggests that the Neighbors operation outside of Florida was much larger than him. The ongoing operations in Washington have been linked to two other personalities which were also linked to Neighbors’ Facebook page.

According to the WUTC‘s staff investigation of Neighbors Moving and Storage of Seattle, LLC in June 2008, Louis Massaro and Joseph Tranisi were listed as the only two owners of the company, owning 51% and 49%, respectively. At the time of the investigation, the complaints were mainly around false advertising for free and no-charge products and services as part of their contract (which is technically illegal under a particular Washington tariff law).

In response, Neighbors simply changed its advertising language to fit with the investigating body’s requirements, but a year later they were contacted by the agency again because a competitor complained that Neighbors was still advertising free and no-charge services. Tranisi wrote back to the agency that those new ads were actually considered “coupon pages” and blamed his media company for not clarifying the distinction to potential customers. In the end, the penalty recommended by the agency came to a measly $5,000. Another penalty assessment as early as October 2005 had called for a payment of over $42,000 for its 574 violations, so this clearly wasn’t their first punishable offense.

Now, back to Louis A. Massaro, whose LinkedIn page claimed he was but a humble sales rep for Neighbors Moving & Storage. He is still actively listed as an officer with Neighbors Moving & Storage, Inc, a company he filed for in 2005 with the help of Julia Davidson Riley. Riley is a Colorado attorney who served a 90 day disbarment in 2010 for a probate matter surrounding conflicts of interest and incompetent advice (People v. Riley). She is not the only disbarred attorney connected to Louis Massaro.

Louis Massaro is also on incorporation statements for Mover Nation, LLC and the FJM family of companies, all of which share the same agent: P. Todd Kennedy, an attorney in West Palm Beach. Kennedy is just a legal veil, but if he’s the same P. Todd Kennedy who serves on the board of directors for Food for the Poor, he has tried to redeem himself in stark opposition to his clientele. Still, his name will come in handy for tracing new documents.

FJM records further indicate that Massaro worked closely with a Pamela Massaro (who was also active on Neighbors’ Facebook page) and a guy named Ricky Walker. Walker resigned his LLC membership in FJM Management in September 2013 and seems to have disappeared. As for litigation involving Louis Massaro, I could only come up with two cases: 1) one filed against him in 2011 for wages owed to a former Neighbors employee, and 2) another filed by him in 2008 against Palisades Collection, LLC, a C-rated collection agency specializing in outstanding cellphone billing. Palisades has seen its share of courtrooms recently and is admittedly a pretty nasty company to deal with, but I guess karma’s a bitch.

Joe Tranisi, the minority share owner of Neighbors in Seattle, actually lives in Washington, but he must spend time in South Florida. A Facebook picture of he and Massaro together on a white couch in front of palm trees makes them both look like gigantic douchebags, and something about the cocky smirks and the iPod/cigar combo just makes them less likable than they already are as moving & storage people.

A former U.S. Marine and originally from Nebraska, hopefully Joe isn’t a Cornhuskers fan because it’s been a rough time for those guys – things just haven’t been the same since Tom Osbourne left. Tranisi’s wife studied communication at UW, and she was also active on the Neighbors Facebook page. LinkedIn indicates that she is/was the owner of Seattle’s branch of Neighbors, but public records for Neighbors Moving & Storage of Seattle, LLC continue to list Joseph R. Tranisi as the only governing member (since 2009).

The Seattle office has done everything to repair its tarnished record short of changing the way it does business. Neighbors in Seattle has even sponsored a Toys for Tots drive for the last 5 years, which goes a long way toward bandaging a crippled PR campaign, but does nothing to change the fact that the company continues to operate on deception.

Not many people know they can Yelp! a moving company, but the most recent review from January 2014 shows that some poor girl got stood up by her intended crew, delayed by the replacement crew, and charged far more than what was quoted over the phone. Meanwhile, her boyfriend had hired a legitimate mover to move to the same place (from farther away), and they showed up promptly and moved everything intact.

The Neighbors network for which the Tranisis are responsible have also been linked to the Heritage Moving family. Notice the endearing cliche, which is also linked to Louis Massaro at a Deerfield Beach address. They’re also connected to the Nice Guy moving family mentioned earlier. In July 2013, they notified the WUTC that they were adding the trade name of “Movers of Seattle” and removing all the aforementioned trade names, clearly in an effort to clean up the reputation. Lo and behold, on the website for Movers of Seattle we clearly see that it’s a DBA name housed under Neighbors Moving & Storage of Seattle, LLC.

So far, Washington is the only state to take such aggressive regulatory action against Neighbors, at least according to the federal consumer protection database. This might encourage Tranisi to keep his ongoing operations as honest as possible, because a few bad reviews on MyMovingReviews.com and Yelp! can quickly tarnish his new brand. Currently there’s very little info on the new company, so my guess is that it’s waiting to be rolled out once the Neighbors brand has been sufficiently ruined.


Con-Men Origins: Neighbors

Although this is a lot of info on the Neighbors network as it stands, there are certainly some gaps. Plenty of names are mentioned on filings that I don’t follow, mainly because I’m not being paid to do this and you wouldn’t want to read all the technicalities. However, I’m sure there is a nagging question on any reader’s mind by this point, and that is: “Where did it all start?”

Remember the name Julia Davidson Riley? Well, it appears she is a link to the past, which is helpful since her name leads back to a few others in Colorado, names like Steven Horowitz, Yvonne Horowitz, Frank Reynolds, and of course our friends Louis Massaro and Joseph Tranisi.

Steven Horowitz linked back to Louis Massaro when they tried to launch a Neighbors office in Jacksonville in 2008, which has remained inactive ever since. Yvonne’s name turns up a lot more company records, including the All in the Family Moving & Storage network (with additional links as far away as Massachusetts), the Father & Son Moving & Storage network, United States Van Lines of Jacksonville, Executive Van Lines, and an assortment of other storage incorporations. Father & Son is the most important name to remember, and you’ve already seen it in the Denver case cited earlier.

The Orlando office of All in the Family included a Fred Massaro on a filing in 1997, the same year Yvonne co-filed with a Denise Trezza. Fred Massaro’s records with the FLDoS reflect a series of moving & storage ventures, among other things. One company called A AAchen Family Moving & Storage of Jacksonville was launched in 1995 with Steve Horowitz, which was the same year Steve tried to bring Father & Son Moving & Storage of Charlotte to Florida.

Throughout these filings, Fred’s address was in Plantation, FL and Steve’s was in Jacksonville. They launched two more in 1997, Jaguar Moving & Storage and All in the Family Moving & Storage of Orlando, both registered in Jacksonville and both inactive by 1999. All these corporations were under the registered agent Eliot J. Safer, an estate planning and corporate attorney still practicing in Jacksonville.

There are other corporations that share Fred’s and Eliot’s names, but the addresses of incorporation are different from the moving & storage documents so making the link is a stretch. One such endeavor was Kaplan Import/Export, Inc. of 3997 Hallandale Beach Blvd. in Hollywood, FL with Keith Kaplan, but that led to a dead-end. If we trace Eliot Safer’s name as the registered agent on incorporation documents, we can turn up more names and operations.

One is Maryann Cavicchio, who was found on a 2000 filing for Father & Son Moving & Storage of Cleveland. Another is Shirley Horowitz, who shared the same 6805 Stuart Lane address with Steve in Jacksonville and filed in 2004 for Magic City Moving & Storage of Orlando. We also see a new name in Yolanda Vazquez, who used Safer’s services in 1996 to file Father & Son Moving & Storage of Phoenix, Inc. from the same 6805 Stuart Lane address.

Cavicchio’s only other traceable filing was with Yvonne (again at the 6805 Stuart Lane address) for All in the Family Van Lines in 2001. Instead of Safer, they used as their agent Intrastate Registered Agent Corporation. Frances G. Faigenblat was apparently the officer in charge of their account, because his name appears on IRAC’s resignation from the partnership in 2005. Another name I’ve seen a few times on their documents was Adam J. Kohl, who was seen on the filings for all of Yvonne’s moving & storage activity in Florida. Denise Trezza’s search turned up zilch.


The Massaro Family Connection: Part I

Although Fred Massaro’s Florida associates didn’t really lead anywhere, his general operations in Florida fuel the historical search as much as Louis Massaro’s does for a present day investigation.

For example, Fred’s filing for Aachen Family Moving & Storage leads back out west to Arizona, where a group operates as simply “Family Moving & Storage.” Their Chandler office received predictably bad Yelp! reviews in 2011 and 2012, both referencing bait and switch tactics and even verbal abuse. MyMovingReviews.com seems to support these findings, citing the same property ransoming discussed previously.

What’s most interesting about their BBB profile (which laughably assigns them a B+ rating) are the names included as officers. Steve Bielenberg is listed as the general manager, and he could even be the Steve that customers reported as rude and dismissive on Yelp. Jeff (Owner) and Trisha L. (President) complete this Bielenberg Trio at the Chandler office, along with Jeff Williamson who is listed as “office personnel.”

Apparently, the company treats the State of Arizona with as much disregard as their customers, because the Corporations Division has had to warn them three times from 2011 to 2013 of delinquent annual reports. The articles of incorporation include two other names, a Fred A. Goodman, who resigned from the partnership in 2012, and Val Clewley, some guy from Tuscon who likes Hawaiian shirts.

Finding things on Steve and Jeff wasn’t useful, but Trisha Bielenberg, who is apparently from Rochester, MN, has a Facebook page that led me to the Facebook page for Family Moving and Storage. This page is bizarre. Though clearly labeled “Family Moving and Storage,” it is covered in pictures of cigars, and the Facebook page for Cigar ShopGroup posted a picture on Feb 7, 2014 of Family’s moving trucks on Family’s page.

It’s hard to tell what’s going on, but I did manage to find pictures posted as far back as 2011 of the trucks, as well as some invoices. I followed those invoices to the profile for Steve Savage, whose profile helps explain why so many cigar ads were being posted on the Facebook profile of a moving company. He must have managed the site at one time because this guy freaking loves cigars. He also loves the Miami Hurricanes, a lot of venues in Dade/Broward counties, and a group called “I Live in South Florida and I Love It.”

According to LinkedIn, Savage is now a vice president at Atlantic Relocation Systems, which has a single Yelp! star. Granted, it’s from only one rating, but that’s also suspicious since they’ve been accredited with the BBB since 1984. This means Steve couldn’t have started it, meaning the lead is useless because all it indicates is that Steve bailed on Family at some point in favor of another moving company. This is a shame because I don’t really like Steve, and I wanted to pin something on him other than liking a bunch of shitty things on his Facebook profile. Oh well.


All My Sons Moving & Storage

Let’s head back to Florida. We see a connection between All My Sons Moving & Storage of Jacksonville, Inc. and Neighbors Moving & Storage through the much-shared 6805 Stuart Lane South address in Jacksonville, which Vazquez had used to file for the Phoenix-based Father & Sons in 1996.

The FLDoS shows us some new names: Chris Generale (of 2400 Old Mill Rd. in Carrollton, TX), Robert Peterson (of 13821 Diplomat Dr. in Farmers Branch, TX), and Linda Dubberly (of 3325 First Street in West Sacramento, CA). All My Sons has no less than 14 related operations across the state, not to mention a pest control branch in Jupiter, FL that Peterson started in 2008 with some guy from Queens named Spero Georgedakis (and who was also affiliated with All My Sons).

Robert Peterson is an important name. He is linked to several other moving & storage operations, such as J&B Moving & Storage of Ft. Lauderdale (which included Dubberly) in the early 2000s and Titan Moving Systems in 2004. But All My Sons isn’t even headquartered in Florida anymore. Although they claim to have been founded in Fort Lauderdale in 1980, they moved their main office to Texas, where they are still up to their old tricks.

Fort Lauderdale reviews for All My Sons indicate that their drivers harass new mothers in their cars, consistently misquote their prices, and somehow make bad reviews magically disappear from Yelp! West Palm Beach, their longest standing office in the state and the one with the most violations, has been blamed for misquotes, broken furniture, ransomed belongings, and insults in Spanish that the patrons secretly understood.

Reviews on MyMovingReviews.com are no better, and one has been posted in the last few months citing an incident in which a mover didn’t strap a dresser onto a dolly and it tumbled down a flight of steps, completely destroying the dresser and causing $1,500 in damage to the wall (neither of which have been compensated yet).

These reviews for All My Sons directed me to Cleveland, where Cavicchio had connections as well. There are currently 3 active records in Ohio for All My Sons, and the Cleveland office cites Robert Peterson at his Farmer’s Branch, TX address as their President and principal address. 6369 Dublin Industrial Lane was listed as the principal address for the Columbus office, and Patrick O’Neill is listed as the President for All My Sons in Cincinnati (at 8070 Reading Rd.).

O’Neill’s Facebook was littered with links to All My Sons pages for offices all over the country. There were predictably a lot in Texas and Florida, but also at least one each in markets like Boise, Greenville, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas. Nevada in particular had quite a following on their Facebook page, which included Spero Georgedakis and the Girardi family, who owns and manages the South Carolina operation according to LinkedIn and Yelp. But the President of that particular F-rated operation is actually Frank Fatigati, a lover of lost cell phones and Facebook friends with, guess who?.. Francis Margaglione and Steven Horowitz.


Father & Sons Moving & Storage

The Peterson narrative adds a whole new twist to the Neighbors story. Not only was Robert Peterson heavily involved in South Florida moving & storage operations, but his wife, Betty Peterson, was listed on a filing for Father & Son Moving Systems in 2007 at an address in Halethorpe, MD. This address is shared with All My Sons Moving & Storage in Maryland, but I’m not going to chase down that lead. I’m going to stick to South Florida, because this is where shit gets real.

The Father & Son family of moving companies is strongest in Florida, but like all the companies I investigated, it has filings all over the place. Honestly, it’s like a moving & storage piñata exploded in the 1980s-90s and we’re still trying to pick up the contents. What’s most frustrating is that the contents disappear and rematerialize somewhere else under a different name every few years. Very rarely are you able to follow a single filing or brand for more than half a decade.

As it turns out, Betty’s little Father & Son excursion lasted less than 5 years, and it wasn’t even located in Florida. But the people that Betty was flirting with during this time have a history far more sinister than wire fraud.

The Father & Son family of movers goes back to 1908, according to their advertisements. The earliest filing I could find was from 1963 in New York. That’s when Frank Russo filed for his company located at 2525 Tilden Ave in Brooklyn (current home of All Star Moving and Storage). Although the original company has gone through a few names here and there, the Father & Son label stuck and appeared with Russo in a lawsuit in 2008 over unemployment compensation for a guy named Charles Jameson. Frank Russo’s trail keeps going with new filings in 1990 and 1998, the latter of which is still active in the state of New York under the name Father & Son Moving & Storage of N.Y. Inc.

Another similarly named company is located in New Jersey, and was filed by a Rick Russo in 2011. The BBB states that it is currently managed by Anthony Bianco and Sal Conti. The Newark forum of Topix.com seems to indicate that Ricky Russo and Sal Conti are the same person, and a Facebook search for Conti in New York turned up a fat, bald guy with no friends named Russo, so they’re probably right about his double persona. Whoever Ricky Russo is trying to be these days, he is very unpopular with a lot of people who’ve used his company to move in the New York metro region.

The first name, Frank Russo, is actually linked to an assortment of high-profile cases: a serious legal confrontation in the 1990s with the New York City School District over a Brooklyn food service vendor, a $20 million Ponzi scheme trial in Massachusetts in 2008, and a major 2010 corruption case in Ohio.

That first case is actually pretty intriguing because not only did it take place in New York (and included a Brooklyn-based firm), but it referenced a Pat Russo, an ex-cop and son of a Frank Russo, who died in 2008. The natural inclination here is to extrapolate “Pat” to “Patrick” then back down to “Rick,” thereby making Rick Russo the son of Frank Russo, but I can’t be entirely sure. Still, I’m entertained at how many scumbags are named Frank Russo.

The next Father & Son record to pop up on my radar was in Florida 20 years after the first one in New York. While the state in which the new one was filed should come as no surprise, the fact that it wasn’t spun off by Russo himself should. Indeed, 1983 became the year in which the mafia brought the moving & storage industry to South Florida.


The Porcaro Family Mystery

John Porcaro was a short, stocky Italian man with a glass eye and extravagant tastes. The youngest of three sons, the moving & storage network he ran consisted of no less than ten iterations of the Father & Son name, two of those being related to cleaning services and pest control. He also ran a plethora of other moneymaking schemes, which include the following moving & storage companies:

  • AA Santini of New York Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • Star of David Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • Starving College Boys Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • AA Nice Jewish Boy Transfer & Storage, Inc.
  • N J B Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • Moishes Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • Family Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • Pay-Less Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • ½ Price Moving & Storage, Inc.
  • Flatrate Moving Services, Inc.

This list doesn’t include all his moving & storage ventures, nor does it include his affiliate, nondescript operations such as John Porcaro, Inc. and JFD, Inc. It also doesn’t include the corporations owned by his business affiliates and co-officers like Salvatore DiBattista, who operated eight companies in the moving & storage industry and two more in the document shredding business (1-800-Shredding, Inc. and Infoshred of Florida, Inc.).

The list is notable if only for its variety and content. For instance, despite his Italian heritage, Porcaro consistently made Jewish cultural references in the legal and DBA names of his companies. Furthermore, the one clearly Italian name on the list belongs to none other than The Great Santinis, a New York family of movers established in 1912 as Santini Van Company, Inc., and who were the subject of a History Channel series on the moving and storage industry. Jay L. McEvitt was the last officer listed on the Santinis’ New York filings in 2001. He died five years later and the company continues operations under Santini Moving Corporation (filed in 1914).

John Porcaro also ran other scams not listed with the Florida Department of State. The most infamous of these was Trump Financial Group in 1997-98, a boiler-room scam with no affiliation to the widely known magnate. He ran this and another investment scam (The Sheffield Group) with Michael Pontorno, brother of John Porcaro’s South Beach model girlfriend at the time, Maree Pontorno. Michael pled guilty to charges in 2002 and was sentenced to five years in prison, while his mother, Roseann Pontorno, also pled guilty and agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Meanwhile, Porcaro had avoided indictment throughout the 90s and was only called to court for his Sheffield and Trump dealings later in 2004, the timing of which was peculiar since John Porcaro had gone missing in 1998 and declared dead by a probate judge in 2000 for insurance purposes.

Circumstances of his disappearance were odd, to say the least. He left a note for his wife telling her that he was going fishing and that he’d be back soon. His black Mercedes, however, was found at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, along with his cell phone and house keys. The reasons for John Porcaro’s disappearance were rumored to be obvious to investigators, but with no hard evidence to back up their observations, a case could never be made against the presumed dead man until 2004. The truth is, John Porcaro was in way over his head by the late 90s, and in debt to the wrong people.

…or rather, the wrong people were in debt to him. One of John Porcaro’s many scams was an offshore gambling operation. A true crime book by Peter Davidson explains that Porcaro bamboozled some made men and their associates out of a lot of money, and when the mobsters asked for their money back Porcaro refused.

These were not the kind of people to rip off. They were part of the same cabal who whacked Neil Napolitano in 1995 for mouthing off about being in the mob while he was openly dating an organized crime detective. Napolitano’s car was also found at an airport, just like John Porcaro’s a few years later, and Johnny Roselli’s car in 1976. Napolitano’s remains eventually washed up on a Miami beach, like another character later in this expanding mystery.

John’s plot gets thicker. Maree Pontorno, John’s model girlfriend, was better known by her married name, Bree Stoyanovich, the wife of Dolphins kicker, Pete Stoyanovich. When Maree and Pete split, she started going out with older guys, one of whom was John Porcaro. This new connection between John Porcaro and Michael Pontorno became suspicious in 2000. That’s when the “stripper-killer,” Ariel Hernandez, said that the same North Miami mobsters who paid him to do petty crimes throughout the 90s were behind John Porcaro’s disappearance. He hinted that someone wanted to supplant Porcaro, specifically in Trump Financial.

This left a few strong suspects. The first and most obvious would be Michael Pontorno, who might have used his sister’s beauty to grab a piece of Trump Financial, but I question his willpower and resources to carry out such a sophisticated hit. I also think he knew that Trump Financial’s heyday was already coming to an end under heavy regulatory scrutiny, given that federal indictments of multiple employees were forthcoming.

Pontorno could have had his sights on something else, but you’d wonder what could drive him to murder in ’98 when the heat was already on, and if it warranted something as strong as murder, why would he roll over so eagerly in court four years later?

Maybe he felt relieved he wasn’t on trial for murder, so he confessed anything for a reduced sentence. Whatever his real story was, he did get shorter time for cooperation (only 5 years) and appears to be happily married with kids in Fort Lauderdale. He’s also been spotted playing on the professional poker tour, and in a 2008 interview, he said that he had been playing poker for five years, meaning he learned all his best tricks in prison.

One aspect of John Porcaro’s business that remained legal, operational, and profitable was his moving & storage network, but the two people who stood to benefit from that already ran it. One was Tony Pep Trentacosta, an Atlanta-based Gambino crime family caporegime who flew to Miami twice a month to check on his crew.

The second was Fred Massaro, a non-family associate who helped run South Florida operations for Tony Pep. They both, however, had their own share of trouble brewing. Tony Pep was indicted on federal racketeering charges in 2001, and Massaro was arrested in 2000 for his role in planning a murder just a year earlier (more on that later). With no heirs to the throne, it seemed that most of Porcaro’s empire would disappear with him.

Filemena Porcaro, the wife John left behind, had appeared on the initial filing for Father and Son Moving & Storage, Inc. with her husband, but not until 1999 as a write-in officer. This is odd since she would effectively have had to pose as her husband (who was the sole officer) to write herself in as an officer on the annual report. The same year, she was also listed as the only officer for the launch of Father & Son Moving & Storage (no “Inc.”), a record that is still active today.

She was also listed from 1991-2000 on another Father & Son filing under her unmarried name (Filemena Silvetti). That name turns up a lady who once attended John Jay High School in New York in the early 1970s and dated a guy named Wayne Baffe, at least according to Peggy’s memory. Filemena has no doubt been questioned numerous times regarding her husband’s disappearance, but nothing has ever been publicized about those interviews.

Dominic Porcaro, John’s older brother, was another logical heir to the moving & storage business. He seems to have been more interested in the warehousing business early, and was listed as the sole officer for two different warehouse incorporations starting in 1987, with one dissolving in 1993 and another in 2013.

Still, Dominic played around with moving & storage from 2008 to 2012 with Father Son & Grandson Movers, Inc., and even a varying form of his brother’s Nice Jewish Boy brand and his own Movers “R” Us, Inc. with John Brennan in 1995. Dominic’s legacy, though not as diabolical as John’s, is just as sordid.

Dominic, the middle Porcaro brother, was arrested under suspicion of DUI on a Wednesday night in December 2013. The suspicion arose from him driving too slowly (on the wrong side of a two-way road) and coming to a full stop long before the white line at the intersection. A half-empty bottle of vodka was found in the car after the arresting officer detected a strong scent of alcohol on Dominic Porcaro’s breath. He was returning from the Riviera Beach office of one of his businesses. He was 64, he had finalized a divorce almost exactly a year earlier, and this was his fourth arrest for DUI since 1981.

The next afternoon, he launched his boat (named Happy Day Tree) in the Intracoastal Waterway. A day later, the same boat was found empty and aground near the Jupiter Inlet in north Palm Beach County. There was no blood, no fishing equipment, and there were no personal artifacts onboard, but the hull of the boat had significant damage and was believed by the Florida FWCC to have hit a solid barrier of some kind, like a jetty or pier. Dominic Porcaro was never seen again…in one piece.

Less than two weeks later, a human foot washed ashore on the beaches of Martin County, just 20 miles north of where Dominic’s boat was found. DNA profiling quickly surmised that it belonged to Dominic, and that it appeared to have separated naturally from a decomposing body in the water, “either by the force of waves or by a large fish or shark shaking the remains,” according to the article. While the cause of death remains under investigation, it appears from the evidence that Dominic Porcaro is, in fact, dead somewhere off the South Florida coast and not just joining his younger brother in one last, elaborate insurance hoax.

Meanwhile, Louis Porcaro, the oldest of the trio, has remained in California, away from the trouble that his two younger brothers have managed to get themselves into. While he has stated that he and Dominic didn’t agree with John’s dealings, Dominic does seem to have drifted, like a tasteless pun, toward John’s operations. Even so, Louis was linked to John’s operations in the early 90s, and is even cited as having used the name Leo Rosen in his moving & storage dealings with Jewish clients (while John sometimes used Steven Schiff).

Admittedly, Louis Porcaro’s story is pretty boring compared to that of his two brothers, but the Yelp! reviews of his Father & Son operation in Van Nuys, CA are also much better. That office appears to be an exception to the rule, and it might have to do with the fact that younger blood (in the form of Michael Porcaro) has taken over the business there.


The Massaro Family Connection: Part II

We touched on the Massaro connection before Porcaro, but with new evidence comes new interpretations, and it turns out that Fred Massaro was more than just a name on a filing.

Frederick J. Massaro (aka “Ten Percent Freddie” and “Uncle Freddie”) was a Principal in charge of John Porcaro’s Father & Son operations in Florida. He was also a non-family mob associate helping to run South Florida operations for Tony Pep Trentacosta, who had been told to take over South Florida following the death of Anthony “Fat Andy” Ruggiano. Tony Pep and Freddie Massaro managed Ruggiano’s team out of a pizzeria in Sunny Isles Beach. This was the South Florida arm of the Gambino crime family, one of the original Five Families and the same group of people that gave us John Gotti.

Fred Massaro had already been involved in the moving & storage industry outside of his dealings with the Porcaro Family. From 1993-94, he launched no less than five moving & storage companies, addressing them all to 6805 Stuart Lane South in Jacksonville, which you’ll remember is still the office for All My Sons Moving & Storage.

All of his endeavors were dissolved by September 22, 2000 according to Florida filings, just four days before he was arrested (with Ariel Hernandez) for the Jade Smith “stripper murder.” Massaro was alleged to have planned the murder and hired Hernandez to kill her and dump her body in the Everglades. Hernandez, seeing an opportunity to have some fun, raped and strangled the girl and stuffed her body into a cardboard box before dumping it in the swamp. A fisherman and his 12 year old son found it almost immediately.

The moving & storage trail following Fred Massaro’s arrest, incarceration, and death by kidney failure in prison in 2003 goes in two directions. One was north, back to the Jacksonville address, which includes the All My Sons connection to the Peterson Family operations. As far as I can tell, the Peterson Family is not affiliated with the mafia, and if so, certainly not as openly as the Porcaros and Massaros.

The other trail doesn’t follow a compass point at all. Rather, it stays right there in South Florida with Louis Massaro. Whether he is Ten Percent Freddie’s son or Uncle Freddie’s nephew, he has effectively inherited a moving & storage empire that is the combined market share of both the Porcaro and Massaro networks, minus whatever the Peterson Family now controls. It looks like the Petersons effectively bought-out or took over the Jacksonville market when Fred Massaro went to prison, and although Louis filed for a Neighbors Moving & Storage office in Jacksonville in 2008 (at the same address his father used), it only lasted a year. The Peterson’s All My Sons brand dominates that market.

Louis, it would seem, is only using the moving & storage empire he inherited to build his own entertainment business. He filed for Elevate Music Group in 2012, using a personal residence (presumably his own) at The River House Condos as the initial address. The official address is now 401 E Las Olas Blvd, a law firm in Fort Lauderdale and home to George Granville Lewis, one of the 13 Florida lawyers either suspended or disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court in 2012 for contempt.

Meanwhile, six of Massaro’s moving & storage records remain active with the Florida Department of State, not counting Mover Nation, which is listed under his attorney’s name (P. Todd Kennedy) as the sole officer, despite Louis’s electronic signature on the articles of incorporation.

The moving & storage records still active under Louis Massaro were all started between 2002 and 2006. Again, they include brands from Father & Son to Neighbors to Heritage Van Lines. Interestingly, the earliest of these records, Father & Son Moving & Storage Inc, has its principal address at 1614 Sidney Baker St. in Kerrville, TX, the address for another attorney, Joe Heffington. Louis is still listed as the officer, though, with the address 6066 East 49th Ave. in Commerce City, CO.

That is also the former address for his active Neighbors record in Orlando and the second officer for that filing: Alberino Cavicchio. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Maryann Cavicchio is the officer who led us to Ohio earlier. In fact, all the names included on Louis Massaro filings bring us full circle to our discussion on the origins of the moving & storage cancer in South Florida and nationwide.


In Conclusion…

Unfortunately, Neighbors Moving & Storage is just part of a much larger and unregulated problem. Although many of the operational arms and personalities associated with the company have been covered here, there are dozens of other shell-LLCs with branching DBAs that scam Americans out of their hard-earned money (and personal property) every single day.

While the Porcaro and Massaro stories are entertaining, the truth is that not only did those two families drive the deceitful moving & storage business model, but they were also involved in drugs and murder. The moving & storage industry in the late 20th Century became for the mafia what Las Vegas was in the mid-20th Century – a cash cow with no regulation. Gambling was an addiction, and moving is an inevitability.

What we should do is demand action from regulatory bodies. Write to your representatives and senators, letting them know that this is a serious issue. You may have to move one day. Hell, chances are that if you have moved in the past 20 years, you already dealt with one of the companies mentioned here.

If you haven’t done so already, file your Yelp! and MyMovingReviews.com complaints with the FMCSA and they will take whatever action they can. Reviews sitting online won’t do anything. The real solution is to have lawmakers come up with some set of parameters in which these moving companies have to operate that will prevent them from taking advantage of customers.

On a final note, if anyone mentioned in this story is reading this, my only hope is that I’ve made you feel as angry and helpless as you’ve made countless consumers feel over the years. You have no concept of business ethics, and very little regard for humankind in general if you’re willing to take money through deception and coercion. I expect you feel betrayed by the anonymity you so frequently used to escape accountability, and if you’re crazy enough to sick the mob on me, I want you to know that I sent copies of this article with my real name to my friends and the relevant law enforcement agencies. If I disappear and my car is found at an airport, everyone in this article should expect a phone call.



In November 2015, Louis Massaro pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and failure to return household goods.  He was scheduled to be sentenced on Feb 9, 2016. All counts amounted to a maximum sentence of 32 years and $750,000 in fines.


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