(Columbus, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a settlement with Akron-based companies NSA Technologies LLC and Home Job Placement and their owners, Mark W. Jenney, Victor J. Bierman III, and Vincent E. Fisher, to resolve allegations that they violated consumer law when offering work-at-home programs online. Under the agreement, they will pay more than $35,000 to affected consumers.
"These companies sold various work-at-home programs, self-employment guides and job placement opportunities to consumers across the country," Attorney General DeWine said. "They took money from consumers, falsely promising that they would find immediate job placement, and then refused to provide refunds."
According to the consent judgment, filed in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, the defendants will pay $35,950 in restitution to 34 consumers throughout the country, including 8 Ohioans. They also will pay $5,000 for investigative and attorney costs, plus a $50,000 civil penalty, of which $30,000 will be suspended if the defendants fully comply with the agreement.
Although the companies agreed to provide restitution to consumers, Attorney General DeWine said consumers should be wary of other work-at-home offers, many of which are foreign-based scams.
Since January, the Ohio Attorney General's Office has received more than 60 complaints about work-at-home services, half of which appear to involve counterfeit check scams. In more than 10 of those complaints, consumers indicated that they lost amounts ranging from $1,500 to $3,500.
For example, a Warren County consumer said she received notice about becoming a secret shopper. The company sent her a cashier's check and told her to deposit the check, keep a portion for herself, and wire the rest to England. She wired more than $3,500 before she realized the check she had deposited didn't clear the bank. Unfortunately, she fell victim to the scam.
DeWine warned consumers to watch for other signs of a job scam, including:
- Companies that ask you to click on a link or otherwise direct you to a specific website for a credit check.
- Jobs to evaluate wire transferring services, such as Western Union.
- Jobs to do at-home medical billing or payment processing.
- Any job that requires you to send money via wire transfer.
- Requests for your personal information and account numbers.
- Companies that charge you for information about government jobs.
Consumers should report job scams to the Attorney General's Office by calling 1-800-282-0515 or visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ReportaScam.
View a PDF of the signed consent agreement at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Work-at-HomeConsentAgreement.