Moving company charged in 17-count indictment

| 8/20/2003

A grand jury in the Western District of Washington has indicted Nationwide Moving & Storage and some of its officers and employees on federal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and interference with commerce by extortion.

John McKay, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington and the U.S. Department of Transportation, announced the indictment Aug. 14. The indictment names Nationwide Moving & Storage (also known as Northstar Moving & Storage and American Star Moving & Storage), Erik Deri, Tanya Deri, Yuval Derei, Joe Naham, Michael Airgood and Kristen Klein.

Prosecutors said the events covered under the indictment occurred between May 2002 and July 2003. Nationwide Moving & Storage was conducting business during that time from locations in Kirkland and Woodinville, WA, and most recently did business under the names Northstar Moving & Storage and American Star Moving & Storage.

According to the indictment, Erik Deri and Tanya Deri were the owners, officers and managers of Nationwide; Joe Naham and Yuval Derei served as mid-level managers and supervisors for the company; Michael Airgood worked as a packer and foreman for Nationwide; and Kristen Klein worked for Nationwide as an office manager and "estimator."

The indictment alleges Nationwide conspired to lure customers into doing business with the company by intentionally offering low moving estimates, and then inflating the price once the goods were loaded onto the moving truck. Afterward, the indictment alleges, delivery of the customers’ goods was withheld until the customers paid the inflated price to Nationwide.

Prosecutors also allege Nationwide, Erik Deri, Tanya Deri, Joe Naham, Yuval Derei, Michael Airgood and Kristen Klein used fear of losing their household goods to get moving customers to pay higher prices.

If convicted, those charged in the indictment could face jail terms of as little as five and as much as 20 years, and fines as high as $250,000.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn A. Warma and is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.

Attempts to reach the company for comment were unsuccessful; three telephone numbers listed for the company were disconnected.