Feds seize West Chester warehouse after moving company indicted in nationwide scam

Local family caught in moving scam

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Federal officials have seized a warehouse in West Chester after a moving company operating under several names was indicted as part of a nationwide scam.

One local family has been waiting three months to get their belongings moved to Florida. So where's the stuff? That's the $2,400 question Jeanne and Mike Porter would like the answer to.

They would have been out nearly $5,000, but their furniture never showed up in Florida, where the movers would have then collected the balance. As of Monday evening, the Porters have no idea where all of their stuff is being stored.

They bought their Sarasota condo in May and did their homework, seeking out bids from several moving companies. They settled on Flagship Van Lines, at $2,400 dollars to move their life south. They are retired and were about to move on to the next chapter of their lives. It would take three days to get there, so they went to Sarasota well ahead of the delivery just in case.

Before taking off they met with movers at their storage unit in Hebron in June.

"Two-thirds of what they moved, they said, you've got too much stuff!," said Mike Porter. "We can leave it here or we can give you a figure of what it's going to cost you to have the rest of it moved."

That cost? Another $2,400 -- double the original estimate -- to load the rest.

The couple says that was the first red flag. They paid a $600 deposit, then another $900 before pick-up.

"And they would only accept it in cash or a money order," said Mike Porter.

Red flag number two, they said, came once they got to Florida -- they'd have to pay the balance in cash or a USPS money order.

Flagship representatives told FOX19 they blamed the delays on truck breakdowns and it being the busiest season of the year to move, which bring us to red flag No. 3 for the Porters -- Jeanne Porter said the company stopped answering her calls weeks ago.

They bought living room furniture in Sarasota so they'd have something to sit on. Everything else, they told FOX19, is MIA.

Along with the warehouse in West Chester, Flagship has eight warehouses across the U.S.

On July 31, a Federal Grand Jury in Ohio charged 12 people with conspiring in a racketeering enterprise, to defraud people through their moving companies in several states, using several aliases -- Flagship was among those indicted.

Federal officials told the Porters they're going through the warehouse right now trying to figure out whose stuff is whose, but no timeline is being given as to when they might anything back. Former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery is a friend and is helping the Porters to get their money back. They've got receipts for everything.

If you believe you are also a victim, call 1-800-424-9071.

Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.