A stunning fall for a one time sports hero. Jay Vincent may have played on some of basketball's biggest stages, but these days he is behind bars.
"Hi my name is Jay Vincent from Foreclosure Bank Inspecting Company we are a trademark company with the federal government," said Vincent in his video pitch he made to try and recruit employees for his business.
"A former NBA player and hometown hero used the notoriety and reputation that he had to illicit trust from individuals who applied for positions with his company," said Erin Leipold, a US Postal Inspector.
Vincent sent ads all over the country looking for people to work for his foreclosure inspection business.
"When they responded they were told they needed to obtain a background check. They could either obtain the check through his company for $89 or they could obtain it on their own, which was more difficult," said Leipold.
But the background checks were never done. No inspectors were ever hired and the business had no contracts. Leipold says Vincent was just taking the fee Money.
"We estimated 18-thousand victims in this investigation and we calculated the loss at 1.4 million dollars that we could document however we think that the loss was closer to two million dollars," she said.
Sheilita Griffin says she worked for Vincent answering phones. She heard many complaints from applicants, but didn't realize it was a scheme.
"I don't believe in scamming people, in our economy and the way that our economy is going right now - people are working very hard for the money they have - so to scam people out of $89 - I don't really think that is fair," said Griffin.
Postal inspectors warn that job seekers need to be weary of online ads.
"Jobs that promise high earnings with minimal effort are most likely NOT a legitimate offer," said Leipold.
Vincent was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $100,000 to the IRS for his part in the fraud case.
You should always be extremely leery of any start up costs or up front fees that are required to apply for a job. Always check out companies with the Better Business Bureau and visit the company headquarters or office address they have listed.
For the Federal Trade Commission's 'To Do' list to help you avoid a job scam while job hunting, click here.
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