TUCSON – We asked five men who used to work for a local moving company to raise their hands if they are owed money by Assurance Relocation Systems.
Everyone raised their hands.
They are among nearly 100 former workers at Assurance Relocation Systems who say the moving company owes them money.
Nate Schuller says he’s owed $5100. Matthew Cumbo claims ARS owes him $4000. Chipper Carr says he hasn’t been paid a little over $3100
A spokesperson for the Industrial Commission of Arizona says the agency has received 93 wage complaints against A.R.S. in the past two years. The agency says the majority of the cases were won by former employees.
However, some who won claims told us that A.R.S. still hasn’t paid them. The Industrial Commission says employers must comply with Labor Department rulings within 52 days. The News 4 Tucson Investigators reviewed numerous claims won by unpaid former movers more than 52 days ago. One was ordered more than seven months ago. Not one former worker told us that A.R.S. followed the order.
A spokesperson for the Arizona attorney general told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “The matter is currently being reviewed by our civil division.”
“It caused me a lot of financial hardship,” former A.R.S. worker Cumbo told us. “I had to get help to pay my rent, my car payment, my other bills.”
Schuller said, “It set me back. I have a wife, a three-year old daughter.”
A spokesperson for the Arizona attorney general says “The matter is currently being reviewed by our civil division.”
Many former workers say the owner of Assurance Relocation Systems, Lyne Bernabe, makes up excuses about not paying them. They claim she accuses them of stealing and damaging equipment, among other things. Some workers told us they were left stranded far from home when Bernabe refused to let them use gas cards.
Some former A.R.S. employees said they didn’t get paid after recently doing a two week job, removing equipment from a former GEICO office. They say when they weren’t paid, A.R.S. blamed that on GEICO, claiming the insurance company hadn’t paid A.R.S. However, a GEICO spokesperson told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that the company did pay A.R.S.
We went to Assurance Relocation Systems’ office to get answers for the employees; no one answered the door. We left two voice messages for Bernabe; she did not call back.
We found numerous online ads stating Assurance Relocation Systems is now hiring.
Former employees said they’re glad that the attorney general is reviewing the case. And they had messages for the attorney general.
Cumbo said, “I would ask them to protect the people that live in Arizona, that pay their taxes, that work hard. It’s their duty to protect us from people like them and they’re letting us down.”
Schuller said, “A message for the attorney general of Arizona: you need to bring charges against Assurance Relocation Systems.”
The Industrial Commission spokesperson says former employees who won wage claims but remain unpaid can take the company to civil court. A few former workers told us they’ve done that, and despite a court order for Assurance Relocation Systems to pay up, they remain unpaid.
If you have a story you’d like us to investigate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.