Florida man pleads guilty in household goods hostage case

| 8/5/2003

Shabtai Shay Mashiah, an employee of First Class Van Lines, Miami, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Miami to charges of defrauding customers by holding their household goods hostage until they paid additional charges, inflated well above the company’s estimate.

A large undercover operation involving The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration resulted in the filing of charges in March against 16 companies and 74 individuals in the Miami area who allegedly victimized 325 customers.

Mashiah’s plea was the first from the 57 individuals who were arrested in the case. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 10.