The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently charged two companies, Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC and PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com and their owner Craig Chrest with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from consumers for fake job placement and resume repair services. At the FTC’s request in its complaint, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas stopped the defendants’ scheme by issuing a temporary restraining order and freezing the defendants’ assets during the pendency of the case.
The FTC alleges that the defendants sent consumers unsolicited messages through well-known business networking websites, such as LinkedIn, falsely claiming to have exclusive relationships with hundreds of private equity and venture capital firms and promising consumers that they were in fact excellent candidates for unadvertised, highly paid executive positions with these firms. The defendants deceived consumers with false claims that job seekers who used the defendants’ services had a 100% interview rate and over an 80% job placement rate. Enticed by the defendants’ false claims, many consumers paid upfront fees of $1,200 – $2,500 to secure interviews which, in the majority of instances, the defendants knew were for fake job opportunities.
In addition to this job opportunity scam, the defendants also deceptively sold purported resume repair services, falsely telling consumers that their resumes were deficient and that they would not be considered for lucrative jobs unless the defendants repaired their resume. As with the job opportunity scam, enticed by the defendants’ false claims, consumers paid fees of up to $1,200 for resume repair either for positions the defendants knew the consumers were not qualified for, regardless of any repair done to their resume, or job opportunities the defendants knew were fake.
Takeaway: As we previously blogged, the FTC appears to be continuing its 2018 agenda of bringing cases which show actual harm to consumers and imploring courts to issue injunctions and freeze assets to prevent further harm. This case is evidence of the FTC’s continued enforcement of deceptive practices that in fact harm consumers.