SAN JOSE -- A manager at a San Jose-based moving company was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to a moving fraud scheme that involved holding customers' property for ransom after doubling or tripling the quoted price, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Asaf Nass, the operations manager for AY Transport -- also known as Progressive Van Lines -- was sentenced to 18 months in prison and 3 years supervised release, according to federal officials.

He pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit extortion and admitted to a scheme involving Miami-based National Moving Network, to "falsely lure customers into moves based upon inaccurate prices, and to subsequently holding customer goods hostage unless the victim paid increased fees," according to a news release.

It states that customers who didn't pay the increased fee had their items put in storage, and sometimes had their property sold at auction. Total losses topped $250,000.

Nass was the ninth defendant to be sentenced in the case. Last month, National Moving Network head Randy Goldberg was also sentenced to 18 months. Seven other defendants at the two companies were sentenced to probation.

The investigation into the companies was launched in 2003 after numerous customer complaints.

A restitution hearing will be held on May 21.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.



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