New Jersey fined 29 unlicensed moving companies that were caught during an undercover sting operation last spring, the state attorney general's office announced Monday.
The movers were snagged during four days in April as part of "Operation Mother's Attic," in which state investigators posed as people hiring the companies to move from a luxury home in Montville, Morris County. The unlicensed movers, who had advertised online, were met by investigators who issued notices of violation and $2,500 fines, authorities said.
"An unlicensed moving company can be a homeowner's worst nightmare," Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. "They've been known to hold truckloads of property hostage until the customer pays an extortionate fee. And these unlicensed movers often don't carry adequate insurance, creating the risk that homeowners will be left high and dry if their property is seriously damaged during the move. That's why we regulate the industry — and why we crack down on rogue operators."
State law requires movers to be licensed by the Division of Consumer Affairs and to have cargo liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and bodily injury and property damage insurance. There are roughly 320 licensed movers in New Jersey, according to the attorney general's office.
The movers cited for operating without a license are:
Each mover can contest the violation and fine. The $2,500 penalty will be cut in half for movers who apply for a license within 30 days of receiving a notice of violation.
State police also handed out 29 motor vehicle violations and arrested three people (two for outstanding warrants and one for possession of marijuana) as a result of the sting, authorities said.