Friday, January 31, 2014

Instructions On How To Dig Deep & Find The Truth- 11 Steps

Hey folks,

First, let me clarify something. This blog is not just about ONE scam moving company. It is about ALL the scam moving companies out there and my efforts to help as many people as I can to avoid them or recover from using them.

We were able to get our things back from Josh and Jodi Socher's scam company. It suffered a great deal of damage, but we got it back. Others have not been so lucky, or have suffered a greater loss than we did. When I read their stories, and have them contact me with what they are going through, it makes me want to help them.

The best way to help them is to shine a big, glaring spot light on the lack of regulation, and the incompetence of state offices in stopping these criminals. The best way to help or prevent future victims is to shine a light on these companies, post factual information, post screen grabs of the documents open to the public and teach people how to dig into the companies deep enough to know who they are dealing with BEFORE they sign a contract.

Getting an estimate from some company online or out of the phone book is not enough to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate moving company. You have to know who is operating these companies behind the name and find out if the name of the company is the legal name filed with the state or a fictitious name owned by the legally named company.

Why is this important? Well, if you go to Ripoff Report and search for a moving company, you may not find a single complaint. BUT... if you search for the owner of a company, or the licensed agent of a company, you may find a lot of complaints.

If you find the name of the owner of a moving company or the acing agent's name for a company, and simply run a Goggle search, you can find out even more about who you are giving your money to, before you sign the contract or credit card receipt.

Protect Your Move offers some great advice, but I don't think it goes far enough.  But we can use them to find out more about any moving company you may think about hiring, before you sign a contract. Granted, this is not a fool proof way to avoid ALL the potential problems a move might bring, but I think it is a good way to research a company as fully as possible before you hire them.

So, here is how you can start investigating a company in , oh I don't know, let's say Florida.


Step One: 

Check out the Protect Your Move website. READ the information there, especially the red flag check list.


Step Two:

Look on the Protect Your Move site, on the right hand of the screen, under the section "Important Resources."  The first link takes you to a searchable database. Click it!

Once you are on this page, look to the menu on the left hand side of the screen and click on "Search by State." Click it!

Scroll down and pick your state. In this example we are going to pick Florida.

We can then scroll down and look for the city where the mover is based. In this case we will look for oh, how about Pompano Beach, Florida, and a company named Remax Van Lines.  You will see some basic information about the company, and you will see this company has had 2 complaints filed against them.  In general I find this information rather useless, because not everyone takes the time to file an actual complaint, so this is where you need to start digging into the state of Florida and online for more information, if this is a company you are interested in using.


Step Three:

A basic Google Search will give you a few tidbits. This is where you need to scroll down and see if there is anything that catches your eyes, like negative reviews or anything posted on Ripoff Report. Since we can see there is a report posted about Remax van Lines on Ripoff Report, we can click on it and take a look at what people have to say.  Make sure you look at any comments or rebuttals to get the bigger picture. 

Remember, a lot of the times the scam artists will post fictitious positive reviews en mass to boost their own reputation. They also seem to build trust by posting videos about how to avoid a scam, when they are in fact running what appears to be, by all appearances a scam company.

Now, if you still want to consider using them, it is still a good idea to dig a little further. This is where you start looking for the owners of any company. 


Step Four:

Since this company is registered in the state of Florida, we can look for the incorporation paperwork. There are a couple ways to search the database. I like to start with the simplest way, which is by the company's name. We have the company listed at Remax Van Lines, so we will go to the Inquire by name link, which is listed first under the Corporations, Trademarks, Limited Partnerships, & Limited Liability Companies, and search for Remax Van Lines

What? The company did not show up here, which tells us that this company name is going to be searchable under the "fictitious name" database, because it is a d.b.a. company listing. This means we don't have the real company name yet, and that my friends is what we need before we hire them.

So, we want to click the back button on our browser twice and look conduct a search under the Fictitious Names tab, using the first link, Inquire by Fictitious Name. We again use Remax Van Lines as our search term and viola, there it is!

You may also want to look for other fictitious names  the company uses. This will help you avoid falling for a big "merger" story posted in a press release. If a single company owns both fictitious names registered to it, how can it merge? It seems to me that in order for two companies to "merge" they would have to be completely different companies. 

Let me restate, in case you missed this in my previous post, Full Service Van Lines is, according to the state of Florida, registered to:

MOVING AND STORAGE ACCOUNTING
4100 N POWERLINE RD, L3
POMPANO BEACH, FL 33073 

FEI/EIN Number: 30-0697688
Document Number: P11000078227


Remax Van Lines is register to:

MOVING AND STORAGE ACCOUNTING, INC.
4100 NORTH POWERLINE ROAD, SUITE L3
POMPANO BEACH, FL 33073 

FEI/EIN Number: 30-0697688
Document Number: P11000078227

They are ALL the same company operating under 3 different names. Need proof? Read on my friend, read on!



Step Five:

Click on the listing for Remax Van Lines and find out what we need to know to search a little more. And, there it is... under Owner Information. Remax Van Lines are owned by Moving and Storage Accounting, Inc.
Step Six:

Now, we can go back and look for the information about Moving and Storage Accounting Inc, using the Inquire by Name link under the Corporations, Trademarks, Limited Partnerships, & Limited Liability Companies. 

When we do this, we notice two companies with very similar names. The first is Moving and Storage Accounting Inc. and the second is Moving and Storage Accounting Services Inc.

Why is this important? Well, if you click the first one, you will discover that the document number is P11000078227 and the Registered Agent is Grace Metzger. She is also listed at the President of the company and the Vice President is Maxx Socher. 

They have a few documents they must file with the state and you can click on each one to read them for yourself. For instance, they must file an address change, or any changes to the officers. 

Now, if you click on the second company Moving and Storage Accounting Services Inc. we discover their document number is P13000023641. We also find the registered agent and President is Grace Metzger. 

Step Seven: 

Now that we have the names of the Registered Agents, President and Vice President, we can go back and find out if there are any other companies they may own or have a stake in. So, we go back a couple clicks on our browser to Corporations, Trademarks, Limited Partnerships, & Limited Liability Companies and use the second link to search by Officer or Registered Agent.

We will search for Metzger, Grace, and see what comes up. Here we can find the same two companies she is associated with, but nothing else, but let's go look up Maxx Socher, by clicking the browser's back button once and typing in Socher, Maxx.

Now, now.... what do we have here? There are 6 listings for Maxx Socher. I am pretty confident all of these are for the same person, even with the middle initial used part of the time. But, let's take a look and see what we find.


 Step Eight:

We already know he is associated with Moving and Storage Accounting Inc. but lets take a look at some of the other companies and his associates. 

MOVING ACCOUNTING AND STORAGE INC, has an entity number of P12000054220 and Maxx Socher is listed as the VP again. He is associated with the President named Ashton L. Roedel. The company seems to have voluntarily dissolved.

MOVING SERVICES ACCOUNTING AND STORAGE INC is listed twice with an entity number of P12000102115 and Maxx Socher is listed as President and the Registered Agent. The company is listed as inactive.
FEDERAL MOVING SYSTEMS INC has an entity number of P10000007317 and Maxx Socher is listed as the Vice President.  The president is listed as Anthony C. Scoppetuolo. The company was dissolved on September 23, 2011.
Now, this is where things got a little interesting for me today, because there seems to be a new company associated with Maxx Socher as of January 24, 2014, which is the day after I posted my blog post about his scam of a "merger." 
MJSP TRUCKING INC. has a entity number of P14000007809 and Maxx Socher is listed as President along with Jacob Penaranda. The effective date for this company is Januaray 25, 2014. This is a mere 2 days after I busted them about the fake press release. 
So I went back and searched for MJSP Trucking Inc located at 4100 N. POWERLINE RD. SUITE L3 POMPANO BEACH, FL 33073. Wait a minute, where have I seen that address before? That's right it is the same address for Remax Van Lines, owned by Grace Metzger and Maxx Socher!
See, I am just throwing a dart in the dark here, but I am thinking the heat was turned up a bit and that because of this blog and based on the comment Maxx,, my boy, left on my other blog pleading with me to take his name off this blog, he has decided to start another company. Just a wild guess on my part, but I do find it telling, that a day after my blog mentioned him, he was off to start a new company.
The question again needs to be asked.... WHY does the state of Florida allow this to happen and where in the hell is Pam Bondi? Why isn't she getting tougher on these movers and preventing them from just starting another company when the jig is up on the last one?
Step Nine:
Use the information you find to search for any and all information regarding the people linked to the company you plan on using. 
Jacob Penaranda has had a few companies. It also looks like he has an arrest record. Of course all this information is public, you just have to know where to look. 
Maxx Socher claims in his note to me, that he has been "given a scarlet letter" because of his brother Josh Socher. 
I think he believes I give a damn? From everything I am finding in the public domain, he is earning a scarlet "S" all on his very own... with the "S" standing for SCAM!
From his comments in response to some of the reviews left about him and his company, he wants to throw the word "Slander" around a lot.  I thought it might be useful to him if he was provided a definition of slander.
Since I have provided verifiable links to everything written here, and the information is within a searchable and public domain, I am beyond certain that I am OK.
Besides the fact that the allegedly defamatory communication is essentially true is usually an absolute defense; the defendant need not verify every detail of the communication, as long as its substance can be established. 
Step Ten:
Make a plan to have a back up mover ready to pick up your goods, should there be a problem with the contracted movers. Budget your move for the most expensive estimate, in case you need to use a bigger, more well known company. Allow yourself an extra day or two, should you have scam artists show up at your house and need to utilize the back up movers.
Ask for details about your movers. You should be provided the name of every crew member in contact with your household goods. Ask to see identification in the form of a valid driver's license when the drivers and crew show up, and if it does not match what the company provided, close the door and call someone else. Take a minute to do a Google search on them, before you allow them to touch your stuff. 
Take lots of pictures before you start packing. All of the items you would find hard to replace, expensive to replace or that have any sentimental meaning, should be photographed from every angle. Take photos of the packed boxes to show what kind of condition they were in before they were loaded on the truck.
Take pictures of the truck picking up your items. The side of the truck should have the company's DOT information, take a picture of it for your records. Take a picture of the front and back license plates, and at least one shot of every side of the truck. If you need to file a police report, this information will be most helpful in the recovery of your items. 
If you can, take pictures of the people in contact with your household goods. Again, if you need to file a police report, this information can come in handy, especially if you are asked for a description of the people picking up your items. 
There are studies out that talk about the faulty memory people have on a normal day. When you are dealing with the stress of a move,  you can miss the little things. 
When your stuff comes off the truck, take pictures of any damage to boxes or furniture BEFORE you sign the Bill of Lading. 
Before you sign that bill of lading, make comments and notes about any damages your household goods have sustained. Add the notice "Company is not released from liability under any circumstances" before you sign anything. Make sure you retain a copy of that bill of lading.
If the crew who delivers your goods are different from the crew who picked it up, ask for ID, take pictures of the truck, including the DOT information, and the license plates. You never know what little bit of information, may come in handy later down the line. 
Step Eleven:
Keep everything in one place, so you can find it when you need it. I personally have a 3 inch binder with everything organized by tabs. I documented my phone calls and texts to the company, emails, company information, company complaints, contract and inventory list, bill of lading and then I have individual tabs for all the people associated with my scam movers. 
Any public information I find goes into the folder for future references for myself or for any victim needing access to that information, including attorneys for victims. I keep things like property records, company filings, newspaper stories and screen grabs of any tidbits of information that has the potential to disappear from the public domain.
I also keep a digital copy of everything, just in case, along with bookmarked links for easy access to the databases I search.
There you have it. I know this all seems like a real pain in the ass, but if I had done just 1/2 of the research, we would not have lost over $9,000 to a scam company. We would not have had all the expenses associated with setting up a house without our stuff, while we waited to see if our things would be delivered. We would not have lost time and energy in filing police reports, DOT complaints, insurance claim forms and disputes with our credit card company, and I would not have felt the need to start this blog.
So, yes, it is a pain in the ass to research everyone this deeply. If you don't want to or don't have the time, search the DOT website and Ripoff Report as a minimum. If you see anything there that gives you pause, cross the company off the short list and go to the next one.
If you find you are a victim of a scam moving company and your items are being held hostage, you should contact the folks over at Move Rescue. They are a non-profit and are there to help you if they can. They are funded by the larger moving companies, who are dedicated in stopping scam companies. 
Just like me!

14 comments:

  1. Please remove this information on your site. This has NOTHING to do with me. My company is 100% licensed insured and LEGIT. Plesae stop this now. That new company MJSP trucking is for FREIGHT for a project i am working on and has NOTHING to do with a moving company, this was filed weeks before your blog. Listen, honestly, you can say wahtever you want about me. I had nothign to do with your move, i have nothing to do wiht "scamming" anyone. Look up my companies, I have nothing to hide from anyone so all your blog is doing is creating a drastic attempt for defamation of character. If you are upset with my brother josh, why dont you just keep it between you two and just leave me out of it. please. what do you gain from putting my personal information your blog about "scambusters" when i am not scamming anyone.

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    Replies
    1. I did not mean what I said about my brother josh. that was very very very very wrong of me. I can only imagine what it made him feel to read his own brother writing those things. I love him very much and was very upset about the situation and hurt from what he is going through. You don't know josh, you don't know how much of a great person he truly is, and these blogs and people posting things all over the internet shows NO direct connection to his actual self nor character. I have made mistakes in my past also, and the major point I was truly trying to convey was that I have no affiliation with his company/companies, not does he with mine. We are 2 separate human beings which are in the same industry. I apologize for everything you may have gone through, but please realize you are dealing with a person here who is already going through a lot.

      Delete
  2. Maxx,

    Again, this blog is not just about one company or one experience. It is about helping people find the truth. I don't gain anything, I am simply trying to prevent anyone looking for a moving company from becoming a victim.

    So, defamation which I have defined, can only be proven when something is NOT true. I have proven that you are or have been involved with the companies I have spoken about. The links I have provided will take the readers to the pages and they can see for themselves the companies are listed with your name attached. How is that not true?

    I have also proven that the two companies your press release said were "merging" are actually just 2 companies with FICTITIOUS names owned by a single company. Again, there are links for people to verify the information independently, and I encourage them to do so. How is that information not true?

    You have yet to explain the "merger" press release? How is releasing a press release under false pretenses not fraudulent? You are purposely misleading the public to believe something which is not true, according to the paperwork filed with the state of Florida!

    Now, granted you may have filed the paperwork "weeks" before with the state for MJSP Trucking, but it became active a mere day or two after my blog. I am simply showing people how to search for a company, the owner and other companies that person is involved with because the public has a right to know who they are giving their money to.

    I will stand corrected that the new company is not a moving company, on your word alone. But, you do own it, you did put out a misleading press release, if not a blatant lie and the public has a right to know that too.

    I have looked up your companies, and I have looked up the company names and your name on Rip Off report. Again, I provided links for people to read for themselves. How is that untrue?

    Scam is defined as : a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation

    I think putting out a deceptive press release counts as a deceptive act... If your company is honest and legit, why are you so worried about this little blog?

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    Replies
    1. I did not mean what I said about my brother josh. that was very very very very wrong of me. I can only imagine what it made him feel to read his own brother writing those things. I love him very much and was very upset about the situation and hurt from what he is going through. You don't know josh, you don't know how much of a great person he truly is, and these blogs and people posting things all over the internet shows NO direct connection to his actual self nor character. I have made mistakes in my past also, and the major point I was truly trying to convey was that I have no affiliation with his company/companies, not does he with mine. We are 2 separate human beings which are in the same industry. I apologize for everything you may have gone through, but please realize you are dealing with a person here who is already going through a lot.

      Delete

  3. Maxx,

    Maybe you should realize there are many PEOPLE who "have already gone through a lot" and continue to go through a lot because of your darling brother!

    What kind of "great person" scams people? What HE is going through??

    Sorry, give me a freaking break!!!

    I have no sympathy for your brother, based on his actions, lack of integrity, and lack of taking responsibility. He wants to blame Joey Pino for everything that happened, yet makes no effort to take any responsibility for his own actions.

    Do you have any sympathy for the fact that many of his victims are out of thousands of dollars? Do you have any sympathy for the fact that many of his victims have lost precious memories and mementos from their lives that can NEVER be replaced?

    I saw one arrogant bastard on the news claiming he was the victim, who has ZERO remorse for his actions! I saw a wannabe actor playing a little role hoping for a big break!

    When my insurance company tried to contact him regarding our claim for damages, he ignored them completely, 72 times. This resulted in a delay, and in less compensation for what we lost in our move.

    Your darling brother refuses to reverse the charges on our credit card, or reimburse us for the cost of $2,000 to set up our house to get our 7 year old daughter settled, while we waited for him to call us back after they picked our stuff up. What kind of "good person" does that reflect? What kind of person IGNORES repeated attempts to get our stuff back, and then denies he was aware of any problem??

    Do you have any sympathy for the trauma it caused our family to have to sleep on the floor, or explain to our daughter where her belongings were? Do you have any sympathy for the stress it caused us, not knowing if we would ever see our family photos, baby clothes or family heirlooms again? Do you have any sympathy for the anguish it caused when we opened boxes to find so much damage to things that will cost hundred and in some cases thousands of dollars to repair?

    If you believe his "goodness" so very much, maybe you can loan him the money to pay me back the $3,902 he owes me, along with the money he owes hundreds of other victims.

    I gave Josh, my boy, an option for making things right with me and other victims. He refused to take it. I asked him to reimburse me for our out of pocket losses and costs, publicly apologize, and cooperate with the DOT, MoveRescue and compensate the many other victims for their losses. I told him once the victims were compensated, or got thrive belongings back, I would update this blog and let people he did so.

    So far, he has done nothing but blame Joey for all his problems. What kind of man is that?

    He ran, abandoned his office, left mail unopened from State Attorney offices, refuses to cooperate with credit card companies and insurance companies, and lies, lies, lies to the news crews.

    You are asking me to have sympathy for him because "he is going through a lot?" He isn't going through much compared to the people who were scammed and lost EVERYTHING!

    There is no amount of "stuff" he can go through, short of prison time that will compensate for the damage and scamming he has caused others.

    If you want to help him, and restore the Socher name, maybe you can talk him into being a man of integrity and actually DOING THE RIGHT THING, and take me up on my offer. Until then, this blog stands and I will keep reporting on anything involving the Socher name!

    As for you, I am still waiting for an answer to the "merger" question!

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  4. Thanks for your research into this company. Unfortunately, my friend did not see this prior to moving to NY from the Tampa Bay area. Stuff picked up on 12/26 and she is still waiting for her belongings. One of the sadder things is a very nice, expensive table that was quoted in the estimate was rejected by the guys doing the work. When she said she'd just have to leave it, Willie said he'd give it to his "lady friend" and proceeded to use his cell phone and take pictures of it. This was very emotional for my friend having to see Willie pack up and pad the table and four chairs. Other items that originally were included in the quote were not moved yet the final installment of the bill was not reduced. We are proceeding with a complaint to the Florida AG office and Consumer Affairs. This company needs to be shut down and Max tossed in prison for a while.

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  5. Thanks for your research into this company. Unfortunately, my friend did not see this prior to moving to NY from the Tampa Bay area. Stuff picked up on 12/26 and she is still waiting for her belongings. One of the sadder things is a very nice, expensive table that was quoted in the estimate was rejected by the guys doing the work. When she said she'd just have to leave it, Willie said he'd give it to his "lady friend" and proceeded to use his cell phone and take pictures of it. This was very emotional for my friend having to see Willie pack up and pad the table and four chairs. Other items that originally were included in the quote were not moved yet the final installment of the bill was not reduced. We are proceeding with a complaint to the Florida AG office and Consumer Affairs. This company needs to be shut down and Max tossed in prison for a while.

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  6. I just found your site. My 88 year old mom has hired Full Service Van Lines to move her and my disabled dad from Hollywood to Cleveland, Ohio. I am frantic now that I have found your site. She isn't moving until the end of June but has given them a $3000 deposit. Is that normal? Should I be concerned?

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  7. I just came across your site. My elderly parents just hired Full Service van Lines and although they aren't moving for months, gave them a $3000 deposit. I am really concerned now that I've read your blog. Any suggestions on what I can do to protect them?

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  8. Rex- Your friend needs to contact Pam Bondi's office and file a formal complaint. Also, contact the local FBI office as they do have investigations ongoing into these people.

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  9. Worried- You need to read the contract carefully and investigate the company prior to the move. If they paid by credit card, those charges can be disputed. Take pictures of everything and including the movers, their truck, their tag numbers and ask for ID when they show up, write down their names and ask for their cell phone numbers. If they quoted her over the phone, and did not come out to do the estimate, I would worry, it is the way these scammers work. At this point it might be better to get a refund and go with a bigger company, that comes to the house and gives the estimate. ALSO.... invest in the 3rd party insurance company in case your stuff goes missing. Check your home owners insurance and see if anything is covered.

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  10. Charlie,
    I have a lot of information about our friend Maxx Sacher scheme scams. Everything documented approximately for year and a half, copy of BOL's of over 100 victims, actual cubic feet against what he charged the clients, phone numbers for his EX office employees, drivers that would love to provide more info as far as his planned scams. Please let me know who would be the most interested to have those documents.
    Thank you.
    AM.

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  11. CJ Ward,

    i do have a lot of info on Maxx Shocher, his new place of business, his old scams documented and much more. As always, he closed his scam hub "full service van lines" and now working under different name and continue on the his same way of doing "business".

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  12. Delighted that I found your site, fantastic info. I will bookmark and try to visit more frequently.

    Florida moving companies

    ReplyDelete