By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer
A former college basketball star in Michigan has been indicted for his alleged role in a background check and jobs scam where applicants paid fees for background checks that were never performed for jobs for which no applicants were ever hired.
According to a report on the Lansing State Journal website (LSJ.com), authorities say a company owned by former Michigan State University (MSU) basketball star Jay Vincent, 51, was in reality a scam that allegedly defrauded about 20,000 people out of more than $2 million.
LSJ.com reports the company’s voice message gave applicants an option to pay $89 for background checks before they could be hired as inspectors of foreclosed homes. The applicants were promised that once payment was received for the background checks, the company would send an application and a free “foreclosure kit.”
However, according to authorities, these background checks were never performed. Vincent – a member of MSU’s national championship basketball team in 1979 – was indicted on mail fraud charges and could face up to 20 years in prison, LSJ.com reports.
In these tough economic times, with nearly 15 million unemployed people according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JULY 2010” report, scams involving background checks and jobs are on the rise.
Recently, ESR News posted a story about a Nebraska man accused of running a background check scam. According to a report by KMTV Action News 3 in Omaha, NE, FBI agents arrested the man, who they believe formed a background check company that charged consumers $600 each for phony FBI and Interpol background checks on people, even though private citizens are not capable of performing FBI or Interpol background checks.
These stories, and others, suggest that when consumers want or need background check companies to perform background checks for them, them may want to run a background check on the background check company first.
To help determine if a background check firm is reputable, consumers can visit the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) website at http://www.napbs.com/.