Crime report: DOT fugitive captured, chem company pleads guilty to illegal transport of hazmat

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Updated Jan 15, 2016

stolen money theft fraudThe Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General recently announced court activity in two trucking-related crime investigations. Here’s a summary of what happened with each:

Fugitive charged in HHG moving scheme captured after 33 months on the run

A Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General fugitive has been arrested after a 33-month flight from justice.

Noam Israeli was arrested Nov. 27, 2015, in Arlington, Wash., after police discovered Israeli was wanted in California by state authorities, DOT OIG and the FBI. He is being held in Snohomish County, Washington pending extradition to California to face charges for his alleged involvement in a household goods moving fraud scheme.

In March 2013, Israeli and seven others were indicted on charges of grand theft and conspiracy to commit theft, extortion, money laundering, insurance fraud and tax fraud. The DOT said investigators believe Israeli and his co-conspirators were involved in a scheme to lure customers into a moving contract by offering fake low estimates and later extorting the victims by fraudulently inflating the final bill by double or triple the estimate.

Israel was a foreman for ASAP Relocation, America’s Best Movers, Champion Movers, Fast Moving Van Lines, Quick Quotes for Moving, and Encore Movers – all of which are Northern California-based moving companies.

According to court documents, between 2005 and 2012, Israeli and others go business for one of these businesses by offering low rates for packing services and supplies, then doubled or tripled the original prices. Customers who refused to pay the increased fees were threatened with the placement of their belongings in storage and incurring additional fees, the DOT OIG said.

Virginia chemical company pleads guilty to illegal transportation of hazardous waste

Virginia-based Chemsolv pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to illegal transportation and storage of hazardous waste.

The company operates a chemical blending and distribution facility in Roanoke. In 2012, Chemsolv contracted an environmental cleanup company after employees spilled several hundred gallons of ferric chloride. Approximately 4,500 pounds of ferric chloride mixture was vacuumed and put into five 275-gallon containers, but the mixture wasn’t properly tested to determine if it exhibited hazardous characteristics, DOT OIG said.

The material was classified by Chemsolv employees as non-hazardous and transported to a waste disposal facility that wasn’t permitted to handle hazmat.

EPA investigators also found a trailer that contained hazardous waste containers was on the Chemsolv property, which was a violation. Two other trailers containing hazardous waste had been transported off-site before the EPA investigation, DOT OIG said.