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We have more insight into the “Mr. Move” extortion case.

The Better Business Bureau says the Metairie-based company has received 54-complaints within the past three years; but only one has led to recent criminal charges.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter spoke to an attorney who explains what may have made the difference.

“Once they have your stuff, they know they’ve got you,” said January 2012 “Mr. Move” customer Tommy Zanca.

MOVERS_ARRESTEDHe’s talking about the trying time he had with “Mr. Move,” the Metairie-based company at the center of an extortion case.

The company and it’s employees are accused of withholding property, while demanding more money from customers than agreed upon.

Helpless best describes complainants.

“I contacted law enforcement and they said this is civil,” Zanca said. “We can’t do anything.”

Apparently, company owner Dunwoodie McDuffie knew it.

Kiera Jones says his arrogance was loud and clear, in a recorded phone conversation she says  she had with McDuffie.

“Don’t come with the police.” “That’s not even a threat,” (heard in audio recordings).

“If you think that’s the right thing to do, then I tell you what, you know where I am 3724 airline highway.” “Bring the police over right this moment.” (heard in audio recordings).

“Police ain’t gonna do s*^t for you, understand.” “Nothing!” “Soon as they see the contract you signed, know what they’re going to tell you? Pay the man or get the hell out of here.” (heard in audio recordings). “This is a civil matter ma’am.”

“He flat out told me I could call whoever I wanted; any government agency, any police authorities, and no one could do anything because it was a civil matter and no one could touch him,” said May 2013 “Mr. Move” customer Megan Bagley.

That was until Megan Bagley took her complaint to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, Mandeville Police, and the St. Tammany District Attorney.

“What’s important is for the truth to get out there,” said Stephen Rue.

Rue is an attorney who says the difference between Bagley’s complaint, which led to arrests, and scores of others that went nowhere, is the St. Tammany District Attorney’s courage to do the right thing.

“I think the St. Tammany district attorney’s office is doing a wonderful job as to protecting people’s rights in this case and I would urge the other district attorneys in the various surrounding parishes to do exactly the same,” Rue said.

Now that charges have been filed, authorities say they are focused on putting together a solid case against “Mr. Move” that can be tried in court.

MOVERS_ARRESTEDThere are more arrests in a story we first brought you last night.

Two addition “Mr. Move” employees have been booked in the extortion case.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter has exclusive audio recordings from an alleged victim who has come forward.

“Everyone was very sweet until everything was on the truck; and all of a sudden their entire demeanor changed,” customer Tommy Zanca said.

“Screaming, yelling, you know, cursing,” customer Megan Bagley said.

“It was the worst absolutely, the absolute worst experience,” customer Kiera Jones added.

They’re the tip of the iceberg of unhappy customers who hired “Mr. Move,” they say because of the company’s competitively low quotes.

But once their property was loaded onto trucks, they say the company demanded more.

“When it was time to unload, they told me although we agreed on $900 for the move it was going to be $1900,” Zanca recounted.

Tommy Zanca kept records of his move from January of 2012.

“They refused to open the truck and unload anything until I gave them cash,” he said.

Kiera Jones’ $500 dollar move was bumped up to $15-hundred.

“He tells me in his exact words, and I quote are, “Because that’s what I tell you, you have to pay,” Jones said.

She says she tried without success to reason with “Mr. Move” owner Dunwoodie McDuffie.

“Basically I let him know I think they’re trying to scam me out of some money and his response was I’m going to scam you out of some more money the longer you go on with this stupid and then he used a couple of expletives,” Jones said.

She was so frustrated about how she was being treated, she recorded a phone conversation she says she had with McDuffie.

“There’s only one thing here that resolves the problem, know what that is, cash resolves the problem,” was heard the audio recording. “Hell no I’m not professional.” “I’ll be professional when I get my money.”

It was Megan Bagley’s complaint three weeks ago that launched an investigation.

The Louisiana Public Service Commission regulates small moving companies like “Mr. Move.”

In a statement, Commissioner Eric Skrmetta said, “The LPSC identified possible violations of commission rules, as well as possible criminal law issues.”

That’s when Mandeville Police stepped in and eventually charged McDuffie with extortion.

“You cannot hold somebody’s personal property hostage and that’s basically what they’re doing,” Mandeville Police Lieutenant Gerald Sticker said.

Wednesday the investigation led to the arrests of lead driver William Jeffrey Jr., and sales manager Amanda Brown Neil.

Both were charged with extortion.

Amanda Brown Neil is a woman for whom Bagley has no sympathy.

“Couldn’t hardly even understand what she was saying on the phone because all she would do was scream and holler,” Bagley recounts.

We checked with the Better Business Bureau and found “Mr. Move” has received

54-complaints within the past three years alone; and the company has an “F” rating.

“Which is the lowest rating a business can get,” Vice President of Operations Cynthia Albert said.

WGNO News has learned complaints about McDuffie’s business practices date back decades with the BBB.

Perhaps that’s why the criminal charges the “Mr. Move” trio now faces are not completely unexpected.

Trotter asked, “Doesn’t surprise you? Not really,” Albert replied.

Complainants we talked to seem especially pleased about Amanda Brown Neil’s arrest.

They say she was the first point of contact who bamboozled them.

“She’s getting exactly what she deserves,” Bagley said.

The investigation into “Mr. Move” continues as more complainants come forward.

Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau is encouraging consumers to check their website before committing to a costly business venture.

extortion_arrest  A moving company owner booked for extortion could soon face more charges.

Dunwoodie McDuffie of Metairie is accused of withholding property his company was hired to move, while demanding additional fees from customers.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter tells us why there could soon be more arrests.

“It was definitely a nightmare, and I’m completely exhausted from this situation,” customer Megan Badley said.

Megan Bagley is talking about her 3-week ordeal with “Mr. Move;” the Metairie moving company she hired to move her things.

She says the company quoted her approximately $700 dollars, but investigators say once her property was secured on the truck, they demanded more.

Mandeville Police Lieutenant Gerald Sticker explained, “Problem was the amount that she now owed was about 13-hundred dollars more than she was originally quoted.” Trotter asked, “Why?” “There was no explanation given,” Sticker replied.” “They just said this was the price and she tried to argue with them and according to our complainant it was no dealing.”

“We went back and forth on the phone with the office, as well as with the mover and it was basically write the check or you’re not getting your stuff,” Bagley said.

“You can’t hold somebody’s personal property hostage; and that’s basically what they’re doing,” Sticker said.

It’s why company owner Dunwoodie McDuffie found himself behind bars Tuesday.

He’s now out on bond; but when we went to his 4817 Folse Drive home in Metairie Wednesday, there was no answer.

A peek inside revealed, he’d apparently packed up and moved out.

Lieutenant Sticker says an investigation into Bagley’s complaint turned up even more bad experiences.

“The more we dug, we found more and more potential victims that were all singing the same song,” he said.

In every case “Mr. Move” allegedly gave customers a quote, then jacked up the price after putting their property under lock and key.

“We just couldn’t get answers; and they were rude aggressive, and try to intimidate you into getting their way and making more and more money off of each customer,”  Bagley said.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Bagley says McDuffie was arrogant about the business practices Mandeville Police are now calling criminal.

“He flat out told me that I could call whoever, I wanted, any government agency, any police authorities and no one could do anything because it was a civil matter and no one could touch him,” Bagley said. “The fact that he actually got arrested and is being charged with the criminal acts he’s been doing for years is very relieving.”

Since McDuffie’s arrest Mandeville Police have gotten phone calls and emails from other customers and law enforcement agencies making similar claims against “Mr. Move.”

WGNO News has learned the on-going investigation could lead to more arrests.

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