The Federal Trade Commission has charged an employment-opportunity scammer and his companies with marketing a fraudulent U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employment program.
Through advertisements and telephone pitches, the defendants misrepresented that they were connected with or endorsed by the Postal Service; that postal jobs were available; that customers would receive study materials that would help them pass the postal entrance exam; and that customers who pass that exam were assured jobs with the Postal Service. In reality, none of these claims are true.
The defendants ran classified ads across the country, such as:
*ANNOUNCEMENT* HIRING for 2005 POSTAL POSITIONS
$17.50-$59.00 Plus+ hour.
Full benefits. Paid Training Vacations. No Experience Necessary.
Green Card OK CALL 1-866-329-0801
The FTC alleged that the ads led consumers to believe the defendants were hiring for postal jobs and therefore connected with, or endorsed by, the USPS.
According to the FTC, when consumers called the number in the classified ads, telemarketers told them they were affiliated with, or were, the USPS and that positions were available in the consumers’ area. The telemarketers also promised that if consumers passed the required entrance exam, they would receive a job with the USPS. They then told consumers they must pay a “registration fee” to take the test necessary to obtain postal employment and to obtain materials that purportedly would help them pass the test. Prices ranged from $128.80 to $168.20. Contrary to what was promised, the packages consumers received did not contain materials that would enable them to pass the postal employment exam or gain employment.
In fact, applicants for many entry-level postal jobs are required to take a postal examination, but the tests are not regularly offered and there are no job placement guarantees based on score. Information on postal jobs is available at the consumer’s local post office, and information about required exams is provided free of charge. More information is available at the USPS Web site, www.usps.com. Information about government jobs can be found at www.usajobs.gov.
The FTC’s complaint named as defendants Jeffrey Wayne Simmons (a/k/a Wayne Simmons, a/k/a Wayne Stevens) and his companies, Information Resources of Nashville, LLC and Career Services, LLC.
The FTC worked closely with the Brentwood office of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General. The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on January 20, 2006.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.
Copies of the complaint 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 in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), 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 http://www.ftc.gov. 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.
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