Two men from New York will serve time in federal prison on wire fraud charges for their roles in running a fake staffing company in Atlanta, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.
Erick Powell, 30, of New Windsor, New York, was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He was found guilty by a federal jury for one count of substantive wire fraud. Ahmad McCormick, 32, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and was sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
“Powell and McCormick used their job-staffing company to dupe hundreds of victims into paying high fees for unnecessary training,” U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said in a statement. “The defendants further harmed their victims when they did not produce the jobs that were promised to them.
According to a release from the DOJ, the charged stem from a fraudulent job-staffing company that the duo operated in Atlanta called “National Vocation Group.” The two men used job websites like Indeed and ZipRecruiter to advertise jobs in housekeeping and maintenance industries. NVG had offices in Atlanta and East Point.
The advertisements “falsely represented” that NVG had existing contracts with commercial cleaning companies throughout the Atlanta area, that the jobs paid above-average wages of up to $17 per hour and that NVG could place its clients in these high-paying jobs, the DOJ said.
When job applicants were interviewed by Powell, McCormick and other NVG employees, they were told that they would have to pay $349 for OSHA training prior to being hired. Hundreds of applicants paid these fees to NVG, but never received the jobs that they were promised, the DOJ said.
Powell and McCormick ran the fake company for a few months, from August through October in 2015 before NVG disbanded. But the DOJ says that the duo continued operating other fraudulent job-staffing companies. Victims notified law enforcement and media outlets of being scammed, which kickstarted an investigation.
“We will continue to work with OSHA and our law enforcement partners to investigate those who prey on legitimate job seekers,” Rafiq Ahmad, the Special Agent in Charge of Atlanta’s regional U.S. Department of Labor office, said in a statement.
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