The leader of a North Jersey multi-moving company scam was sentenced Thursday to five years in federal prison for jacking up the final bills on estimates he’d given customers by as much as 400%.
Richard Bishara, 43, a former Paramus moving company operator now living in Woodland Park, will have to serve the entire term handed down Thursday by a U.S. District Court judge in Newark: There’s no parole in the federal prison system.
Bishara owned and jointly operated several companies that low-balled estimates on moving household goods before raising the price dramatically once the items were on the truck, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said.
At that point, “customers were vulnerable” and had to pay whatever was demanded or not get their valuables back, authorities said.
“Over a number of years and hundreds of moves,” Bishara and his operating accomplices marked up estimates above the federally regulated amount – sometimes as high as 400% on the day of the move, Carpenito said.
The overall difference between the estimates and final amounts paid by victims of the bait-and-switch exceeded $1 million combined, the U.S. attorney said.
Bishara struck a deal with the government, pleading guilty last July to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in exchange for leniency.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton also sentenced Bishara to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $72,709.
Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Transportation-Office of the Inspector General, inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Field Office for the investigation that produced the guilty plea and sentencing, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy of his Criminal Division in Newark.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.