AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Moving company owner guilty of stealing household goods

Customers who thought they were hiring movers to transport their furniture and other possession instead were dealing with thieves who made off with the shipments, a company owner has admitted in federal court.

Tasheen "Ty" R. Pickett pleaded guilty in federal court in Atlanta to conspiracy to transport stolen property in the scheme, the inspector general of the federal Department of Transportation announced Friday. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6.

The scheme worked for more than a year, the indictment alleged. Pickett, owner of J&P Moving, would acquire moving jobs through moving brokers, even though he didn't have authorization for interstate transportation of goods. After loading the goods, the movers would never return them to owners. In some cases, the company also insisted that the owners pay up front for the pickup.

When owners contacted J&P to try to get their possessions back, all they got were excuses and promises of delivery at later dates, federal authorities said.

Federal agents identified 34 victims of "hostage loads" taken by Pickett in various states. Twenty of the victims got the majority of their possessions back, officials said.

Pickett was arrested last spring at his probation officer's office in Atlanta. Court records show he previously had a federal conviction for drug and firearm charges.

Georgia is among the top states targeted by rogue movers, DOT has told Congress. Here's information on how to file a complaint about interstate moving companies.

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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.