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Post date: July 11 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Lawsuit Against Alleged Unlicensed Employment Agency That Scammed Unemployed Consumers

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2016

New York City Press Office / 212-416-8060
Albany Press Office / 518-776-2427
nyag.pressoffice@ag.NY.gov
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES LAWSUIT AGAINST ALLEGED UNLICENSED EMPLOYMENT AGENCY THAT SCAMMED UNEMPLOYED CONSUMERS 

According to Complaint, The Company Posts Phony Job Listings And Makes False Promises Of Employment To Trick Consumers Into Paying For Expensive And Unnecessary Training Courses 

Schneiderman: Unlicensed Employment Agencies Cynically Take Advantage Of Vulnerable, Unemployed New Yorkers Searching To Make A Living

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against New York City-based Delta Services, Inc. (“Delta”), its predecessor Ultimate Security Force, Inc. a/k/a U.S.F. (“Ultimate Security”), and their owner Jeffreys Paulino, for allegedly using phony job listings and false promises of employment to trick unemployed consumers into paying for expensive, and often unnecessary, security guard and other training courses.  The Attorney General alleges that Delta, Ultimate Security, and Mr. Paulino have scammed hundreds, if not thousands, of consumers. 

The Attorney General’s office has secured a temporary restraining order restraining Delta, Ultimate Security, and Mr. Paulino from transferring, converting or disposing of any assets owned, possessed or controlled by them.

“Unlicensed employment agencies cynically take advantage of vulnerable, unemployed New Yorkers searching to make a living,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This office will not tolerate fraudulent, deceptive and illegal conduct of any kind, let alone against New York residents struggling to find work. We will seek the maximum penalties as well as restitution for defrauded consumers. I caution consumers to ask whether they are speaking with an employer or an employment agency when they respond to employment ads.”

The lawsuit seeks restitution for the hundreds, if not thousands, of consumers allegedly defrauded in the schemes, as well as injunctive relief prohibiting the companies from continuing to operate these scams.  

Delta (and Ultimate Security before it) is an employment agency located at 160 Pearl Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10005.  Employment agencies operating in New York City are required by law to be licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and cannot offer or render placement services for a fee if they are unlicensed.  Even licensed employment agencies cannot collect upfront fees.  The agencies must provide job applicants information such as the name and address of the person to whom the applicant is to apply for such employment, the kind of service to be performed, the anticipated rate of wages or compensation, whether such employment is permanent or temporary, and the name and address of the person authorizing the hiring of such applicant. They must also disclose their name and address and the word “agency” when they advertise in newspapers or other printed media.  The lawsuit alleges that Delta and Ultimate Security operated without a license and charged individuals seeking jobs up-front fees, in violation of New York law. 

After receiving consumer complaints from several agencies, the Attorney General’s Office conducted an undercover investigation that revealed that the company and its predecessor were allegedly posting false job listings online and in newspapers that offered high paying security guard jobs.  The lawsuit alleges that these advertisements were a ruse to sell high-priced security guard training and other courses.  When consumers responded to the advertisements, both companies promised the consumers that they would be placed in a job. 

In addition to making false promises of employment, the lawsuit further alleges that companies falsely represented that consumers must complete an entire package of security guard courses to be eligible to work as a security guard or maintenance worker.  In other instances, the companies allegedly told consumers they were required to take Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) training.  In fact, OSHA training is not required to obtain such jobs and only one of the three courses in the security guard series -- the eight hour pre-assignment training course -- is required to begin working as a security guard.

After consumers paid for and completed the training courses, they allegedly discovered that the promises were lies:  the companies do not actually provide employment to graduates of the courses.  Instead, the companies offer worthless “referrals” to companies.  When consumers followed up on the referrals, the complaint alleges that they found that the companies that they were referred to had no knowledge of Delta or Ultimate Security, were not expecting the consumer for an interview, and were not actually hiring for any positions.

The companies allegedly told many consumers that before they could start working at the promised position, they had to complete a series of OSHA training courses or security guard training courses at a cost ranging from $199 to $499.  Consumers should also be aware that 10-30 hour OSHA training is not required to obtain any type of job and that OSHA law provides that other required training must be provided by and paid for by employers. In order to teach the 10-hour or 30-hour outreach classes, an OSHA-authorized trainer must complete a one-week training course taught by an OSHA Training Institute (“OTI”) Education Center.  An Authorized Training Organization is a non-profit OTI Education Center selected by OSHA through a competitive process. A list of authorized trainers can be found at www.outreachtrainers.org.  There is also a watch list of trainers whose authorizations have been suspended or revoked. The watch list can be found at http://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/watchlist.html.

Consumers seeking to work as a security guard should be wary of any security guard training school that poses as an employer of security guards or promises to place students in security guard positions.  Consumers should read any contract with the security guard company carefully and, before signing any contract, check to see if the school is approved by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services.  Consumers should also keep in mind that low-cost and even free security guard training courses may be available.  For example, the State University of New York’s Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center, http://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/meoc/, offers free security guard training courses for individuals who meet certain income guidelines, and many community colleges offer low-cost security guard training courses. 

This case is the latest in a series of actions brought by Attorney General Schneiderman against security guard schools and companies that have preyed on unemployed New Yorkers by baiting them with phony job offers and selling them inferior security guard training courses.  Others actions have been brought against C.P. International Security, 1st Security Prep and Placement, Security Elite Group, and LJW Security Services.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Jeanna Hussey and Investigator Elsa Rojas, under the supervision of Laura J. Levine, Deputy Bureau Chief and Jane M. Azia, Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice, Manisha M. Sheth.