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New fraud or extortion could send a Florida mover to jail after order by Miami judge


A Miami-Dade judge’s final judgment of a civil case against a moving company owner included an injunction that said more fraud or extortion of customers would be considered contempt of court, which is punishable by fine or jail time.

Fort Lauderdale’s Shawn Thompson, who Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Barket said engaged in extortion and fraud, has opened a new moving company and based it in Orlando.

And Thompson has diversified — in addition to Today Move Movers, he’s opened Thompson Nations & Affiliates that claims to deal in real estate, construction and remodeling, and cleaning services in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Thompson Nations’ website claims it has “hundreds of agents” in real estate and are “a leading builder in diverse market segments.”

Thompson didn’t answer a text message — he has demanded the Miami Herald no longer call him — asking for the names of any licensed real estate agents or contractors with whom his company works.

Both Today Move and Thompson Nations use the address 2814 Silver Star Rd., Suite 219.

The new moving, real estate and construction companies by Shawn Thompson, called a fraudulent extortionist by a Miami-Dade Civil Court judge, operate out of this building, 2814 Silver Star Rd., in Orlando.The new moving, real estate and construction companies by Shawn Thompson, called a fraudulent extortionist by a Miami-Dade Civil Court judge, operate out of this building, 2814 Silver Star Rd., in Orlando.

The new moving, real estate and construction companies by Shawn Thompson, called a fraudulent extortionist by a Miami-Dade Civil Court judge, operate out of this building, 2814 Silver Star Rd., in Orlando.

That’s the same address a Broward Sheriff’s Office process server said Thompson gave him, along with a fake name, when Thompson tried to avoid service in Fort Lauderdale on a lawsuit from an Orange County moving customer.

One default judgment against Thompson, Renee Carter and Thompson Nation Holdings has been entered in that lawsuit. A motion has been made for a second one after an amended complaint.

In Broward County, Thompson was fined on Feb. 1 for advertising moving services without a mover’s license from the county, pointing to Thompson’s online advertisements for Vero Beach-based All-American Relocation and Storage. The online court docket shows an April 26 late notice on the $250 fine.

Reddit threads, Better Business Bureau pages and mover review sites around the Internet sing of stories of extortion from one of Thompson’s many companies. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office says it’s looking into complaints against Thompson’s Small Move Movers.

READ MORE: 38 complaints against Broward mover ‘under active review,’ Florida attorney general says

Small Move Movers was the Thompson company in the case before Barket.

An injunction with contempt of court teeth

The theme told by Thompson’s customers: His company gives one estimate, the movers take possession of goods, then present an invoice with new, unapproved charges later in the move with the threat of holding on to the possessions. The customer either pays or the movers take the customer’s possessions to an undisclosed location, stating they’ll be held until the new amount is paid.

That’s what Nicollette Gonzalez’s lawsuit said happened to her when she used Small Move Movers, which turned a Miami to Gainesville move into an 11-hour journey with a $3,243 added to her invoice at the end. Thompson held Gonzalez’s possessions when she refused to pay the extra cost.

Barket said Thompson “extorted Ms. Gonzalez by accepting only payment of the inflated invoice and discounted inflated invoice. Without question, then, Mr. Thompson was a direct participant in this unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent scheme.”

Along with granting Gonzalez a final judgment of $7,619.81 plus attorney’s fees for her lawyers, Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton’s Rasheed Nader and Tal Lifshitz, Barket granted their motion for a permanent injunction against Thompson, Thompson Nation Holdings and Small Move Movers.

The injunction means any of the three entities will be found in contempt of court if they “misrepresent or deceptively represent:”

“The price of any move by demanding payment of any fees (such as, “intrastate fuel & mileage,” “mileage,” “shrink wrap,” “bulky item,” “long carry,” and “OD fee”) after departure of the origin location that were not disclosed, specified, and calculated in an estimate before departure of the origin location.”

“The cost of labor time by failing to disclose, specify, and calculate in an estimate before departure of the origin location that labor time also includes travel time — i.e., the time it takes to travel from the pick-up location to the drop-off location is charged twice as both labor time and travel time.”

“On an estimate that a discount is being applied to a move but then removing such a discount in a final invoice.”

“That any employee or independent contractor is certified, fingerprinted, background checked, and drug tested if that employee is, in fact, not certified, fingerprinted, background checked, or drug tested.”

“That they are licensed to provide moving services if they in fact are not.”

Contempt of court violations can be punished with fines or jail time.

Thompson’s attorney, Gawane Grant, tried to use case precedent to argue that Gonzalez couldn’t get a permanent injunction without showing “an ongoing practice or irreparable harm.”

Barket agreed with Nader, that the case Grant cited, actually “stands for the opposite conclusion,” and Gonzalez didn’t have to show that.



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