the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Paterson NJ, Three Passaic County, New Jersey, men have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to extort increased fees for moving services from vulnerable customers, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Abdal Abuawad, 26, a Jordanian national residing in Paterson, New Jersey, was arrested in New Mexico on Dec. 13, 2021, and made his initial appearance in the District of New Jersey by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III. He was released on $300,000 unsecured bond. His brother, Abdalh Abuawad, 28, a Jordanian national, and Yousef AlMallad, 31, both of Paterson, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court on Dec. 10, 2021, following their arrests and were each released on $300,000 unsecured bond. All three are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The Abuawad brothers created at least one moving company, Abda Moving LLC, d/b/a 11Even Movers & Storage (11Even), and employed AlMallad as a manager. The defendants and their conspirators utilized 11Even to extort customers to pay drastically increased fees for moving services once the customer was in a vulnerable state and unable to refuse their demands.
Customers often arranged relocation or moving services through a household goods broker that provided the customer with an estimate of the cost of services. Representatives of 11Even, including Abdal and AlMallad, would then arrive at the customers’ homes to move their household goods. Generally, after loading all of a customer’s household goods onto a truck, the representatives of 11Even would then drastically raise the price of the move, often two or three times that of the quoted estimate. Defendants or other representatives of 11Even then demanded that the customer pay at least 50 percent of the inflated cost in cash at that time.
After demanding a higher price, 11Even regularly failed to deliver customers’ household goods for months at a time or at all. When customers called 11Even to complain about the price increase and failed deliveries, Abdalh, AlMallad or other conspirators would field the calls. They often claimed to be looking into complaints but rarely returned any customer phone calls and ultimately failed to answer any subsequent calls or texts.
The charge for conspiring to commit wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain/loss, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited FBI Newark’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Edward Cetnar; the Rockaway Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief M. McParland Jr.; the Medford, Oregon, Police Department, under the direction of Chief Scott Clauson; and the Simi Valley, California, Police Department, under the direction of Chief David M. Livingstone; with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angelica M. Sinopole of the Organized Crime & Gangs Unit in Newark.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this conspiracy can contact the FBI at: email@example.com.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.