Career Network, Inc. (CNI), based in Crown Point, Indiana, and its principals, Walter Turulis and Kathleen Key, are permanently banned from promoting or selling any employment good or service as part of settlements with the Federal Trade Commission. In addition, the settlement with CNI and Turulis requires them to pay a $25,000 judgment. In April 2001, Kathleen Key entered into a settlement with the FTC that also required her to pay $25,000.
The case against CNI was filed in January 2001 as part of Project "Stamp Out Job Fraud," a joint effort between the FTC and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to stop the fraudulent sale of employment services. According to the FTC's complaint, the defendants misrepresented: that postal or government conservation positions were locally and currently available; that consumers were likely to obtain postal or government conservation positions using their materials; and their refund policy. The court issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants, froze their assets, and appointed a receiver over CNI.
The settlements, which required the court's approval, permanently ban the defendants from promoting or selling any employment good or service; engaging in telemarketing; or assisting others in selling employment goods or services or telemarketing in the future. In addition, the settlements prohibit the defendants, in connection with the advertising, promoting, offering for sale or sale of any item, product, good, service, investment opportunity, business opportunity, partnership interest, trust interest or other beneficial interest, from misrepresenting:
- That employment positions are available in particular geographic areas;
- That consumers who purchase any employment good or service will be able to obtain employment positions;
- The salaries and qualifications for any employment position;
- The terms of and conditions of refund policies; and
- Any material fact regarding any item, product, good, or service sold, or offered for sale.
The settlements also prohibit the defendants from:
- Failing to disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner, prior to charging a consumer for any good or service, all material terms, conditions, and limitations of any refund policy;
- Violating any provision of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, or assisting others who violate its provisions; and selling their customer lists.
The settlement with CNI and Turulis requires them to pay a $25,000 monetary judgment. The earlier settlement with Kathleen Key also required her to pay a $25,000 monetary judgment. Both settlements contain a "right to reopen" clause that would require the defendants to pay $2 million if it is determined that they made material misrepresentations or omissions in their financial statements. Finally, the settlements contain various recordkeeping and reporting requirements designed to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants' compliance with their terms.
The Commission votes to authorize the staff to file both proposed stipulated final orders for permanent injunction were 5-0. The settlement with Kathleen Key was entered by the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, on April 12, 2001. The CNI/Turulis settlement was filed on October 15, 2001, and entered by the court on October 17.
The FTC reminds those seeking any government job:
- Information about job vacancies with government agencies is available for free;
- Government agencies never charge an application fee, nor do they guarantee that an applicant will be hired; and
- It is deceptive for anyone to guarantee applicants a high score on any required Postal or civil service exam.
In addition, as part of its Consumer Education Campaign, the FTC offers the following Tip-offs to Rip-offs:
- Classified ads or oral sales pitches that imply an affiliation with the federal government, guarantee high test scores or jobs, or state that "no experience is necessary."
- Ads that offer information about "hidden" or unadvertised federal jobs.
- Ads that refer to a toll-free number. Often, in these cases, an operator encourages you to buy a "valuable" booklet containing job listings, practice test questions, and tips for entrance exams.
Consumers can find more information about federal and postal job scams, work-at-home schemes and consumers' credit rights at the FTC's "Making a Buck" Web site, at www.ftc.gov/makingabuck . In addition, the FTC Consumer Alert, " Federal and Postal Job Scams: Tip-Offs to Rip-Offs ," gives consumers the information they need to spot and avoid job scams.
If consumers have concerns about a company's advertisements for employment services, they should contact the FTC's Consumer Response Center, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP; or visit the FTC's web site at www.ftc.gov. Information about employment opportunities with the federal government is available from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management web site at www.usajobs.opm.gov. In addition, the USPS has published the Test Orientation Guide for Major Entrance Examinations, which is available from the USPS web site at www.usps.com at no charge. This document provides sample exercises and other information to help interested individuals do their best on the major USPS entrance examinations. It also provides accurate information about the USPS selection process and employment requirements, contrary to much of the materials provided by companies engaged in the deceptive marketing of employment services.
NOTE: The Stipulated Final Orders for Permanent Injunction are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. The Stipulated Final Orders have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the settlements, previous documents relating to this case, and a Consumer Alert about Federal and Postal job scams, are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at https://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FTC File No. X010018)
(Civil Action No. 2:01-CV-001-JM)
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Office of Public Affairs
- Staff Contact:
- Gregory A. Ashe
Bureau of Consumer Protection