A Hewlett, New York man was sentenced today to 22 months in prison for his role in a scheme through which he defrauded over 260 customers of his moving company causing losses in excess of $540,000, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
According to U.S. Attorney Sellinger, Lior Atiyas (a/k/a “David Cohen”), 44, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
His co-conspirator, Lola Larios, is scheduled for sentencing on August 9.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From as early as January 2016 through January 2019, Atiyas devised a scheme to enrich himself and his moving company, which used several names to conceal its true identity, including Premier Relocations LLC, Metro Van Lines Inc., Astoria Motor Van Company, Lyon Moving, and Empire Move.
Atiyas, along with Larios, regularly extorted customers by quoting them “low-ball” price estimates for moving household goods.
Once the customers’ goods were loaded onto the moving trucks, Premier’s employees, at the direction of Atiyas or Larios, or Atiyas himself, would drastically raise the price of the move (often two or three times that of the quoted estimate), and then refuse to deliver the goods until the customers paid the increased price.
The aggregate difference between the initial low-ball estimates and the revised inflated amounts charged to victims was approximately $547,525.
Atiyas was also convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud for his participation in a scheme whereby he generated fake paystubs and a fake employment confirmation letter in order for an uncharged co-conspirator to obtain Medicaid benefits.
As a result of his role in the health care fraud conspiracy, Atiyas caused the submission of over $40,000 in fraudulent medical claims.
In addition to the prison term, Atiyas was sentenced to three years of supervised release.
If you believe you are a victim of this crime, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Office at USANJ.VictimWitness@usdoj.gov.