ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Moving is hard enough, but what happens when a moving company disappears with everything you own for weeks or even months?
Contact Denver7's Jaclyn Allen has been exposing this issue for the last year, and now Colorado law enforcement is stepping in to reunite people with the possessions that have been taken.
Our cameras were there in September as Deputies seized storage units in Englewood, being used by H&M Relocation Services.
"We moved from Greeley, Colorado to Bloomington, Indiana," said Ann Anderson, who hired Mega Van Lines this summer and later learned that they contracted with H&M Relocation Services. "Actually, I learned a lot from Channel 7 after the fact."
One customer after the next has reported everything they own being held for weeks or months in storage units. On multiple occasions, Zoda would eventually tell customers where their possessions were, but would not offer a refund for the move.
Stories like these are becoming more common in Colorado, according to Attorney General Phil Weiser.
"We've got more people reporting moving fraud concerns this year—and we're not done yet—than in the past several years," said Weiser, who added that fraudsters need to be held accountable.
But Contact Denver7 has found that usually, victims are told that moving issues are a civil matter, not criminal, and the laws for interstate moves are at the federal level, not the state.
"We're taking a close look right now at what protections we have, what remedies we have and is it enough?" said Weiser.
He encouraged Coloradans to report fraud to https://www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/
Back in Englewood, Ann Anderson had not seen her belongings for more than two months. When Greeley Police called, they told her they had found the storage units where some of her things were being held.
She flew back to Colorado from Indiana to move them herself.
"So we recognized my handwriting on some of the boxes, and we're like, 'oh, that's that piece of furniture. And that's that from that room.' And it was so great," said Anderson. "We recovered a couple of quilts that my grandmother made. She's no longer living. I'm so thankful."
But Anderson said they paid Zoda $16,000 for a move they ended up doing themselves, and she is still missing about a third of her belongings. She said she and other unhappy customers are banding together, hoping the search warrant at the storage facility is the start of justice being served.
Meanwhile, Zoda refused to be interviewed, but in a statement, his attorney wrote "H&M Relocation has not violated the law... It is a common, industry-wide standard to store property for customers during the moving process."
Aurora Police and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the case against Zoda, but would not comment on open investigations.
Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here.