Somewhere in the 80’s employers began getting very excited by playing “buzzword bingo.” Around the same time employees began caring less and less who they worked for as long as they got paid. After all, how many times can you sit through versions of this conversation without taking an automatic weapon to the office?
“Well, Rupert, it truly seems as though we’ve accredited the new paradigm by acquiring the synergy of the tertiary Hooterville marketing framework.”
“Why Waldo, proactive stances like yours are what make America great.”
Insert company’s theme music. Usually a really treacly bit of 70’s pop music that no one with an IQ above lint ever liked.
So why am I not surprised to run across, not one but, two examples of companies hiring people for jobs based on buzzwords and not references?
MSNBC is reporting that some random dude claimed to be a U.S. Army General and got a $175,000 a year gig.
Yeah, you and me? We’re doing it wrong.
A West Virginia man seeking a six-figure job with an Ohio company pretended to be a major general with the U.S. Army, listed the Army chief of staff as a reference on his resume and claimed to have professional relationships with current and former U.S. defense secretaries, federal authorities allege in documents filed in federal court.
A criminal complaint accuses Randall Thomas Keyser of Barboursville, W.Va., of wire fraud. He was arrested Thursday and has a detention hearing set for Tuesday in Akron. Court records show he was born in 1954.
An FBI agent alleges in an affidavit that Keyser defrauded an Akron construction company so he could get a $175,000 job for which he wasn’t qualified and get payment for travel expenses for an interview.
“It’s kind of outrageous,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Bulford told The Akron Beacon Journal. “Anybody who served our country and sees this I think will be outraged.”
Keyser’s attorney, George Pappas, said Saturday he had no comment.
Court documents do not name the company; the Beacon Journal identified it as Tri-C Construction.
Keyser contacted the company in mid-March after it announced a job opening online, the affidavit said. Through phone calls, meetings and e-mail from a private, non-government account that included the image of the Department of Defense seal, Keyser convinced company officials his military background was real, the affidavit said. He submitted a resume indicating he’d served in several wars and had supervised 17 multimillion-dollar construction projects around the world.
He appeared in military uniform at one meeting, Tri-C president Randy Clarahan told the newspaper. The company also received calls from people identifying themselves as Gen. George Casey, then Army chief of staff, and Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff, the affidavit said.
The company became suspicious and contacted the FBI.
Really? A retired general from the Army was looking for a construction gig? That wasn’t their first clue? Third? Jiminy Christmas, was it even in the top 10?
I think I’ll call them and tell them I was a gymnast. That should be good for $100,000 or so.
This next story is kind of sad. It seems that an illegal immigrant trying to make a new life for himself took a job as a cop in Alaska under an assumed name and, according to all reports, was very good at it. Until, that is, as Rachel D’oro reports, someone figured out what happened.
For years, the man known as Rafael Espinoza was widely respected as an exemplary police officer who was popular among his peers in Alaska’s largest city.
All that ended this week when authorities discovered he was really Mexican national Rafael Mora-Lopez, who was in the U.S. illegally and stole another man’s identity, officials charged.
“His reputation here is one of a hard-working officer, one who was very professional,” Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said Friday at a news conference announcing Mora-Lopez’s arrest. “The problem, obviously, is he is not Rafael Espinoza.”
Soon after the announcement, Mora-Lopez appeared in U.S. District Court in Anchorage and pleaded not guilty to a charge of passport fraud, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence. At his arraignment, Mora-Lopez told a federal magistrate he is 47, even though officials listed his age as 51.
His attorney, Alan Dayan, declined to comment to The Associated Press.
Federal agents processing a renewal request for his passport discovered the alleged fraud. He was arrested Thursday after authorities searched his home and found documents confirming his true identity, officials said.
Mora-Lopez had been employed as an Anchorage police officer since 2005 under the assumed name. Police and federal prosecutors said he doesn’t have a criminal record.
“We have no evidence that this individual had at the time been anything other than a good police officer,” Karen Loeffler, U.S. Attorney in Alaska said.
The real Rafael Espinoza is a U.S. citizen who lives outside Alaska.
He had passed the polygraph, background check
Officials said it’s too soon to gauge implications of the case, such as any fallout over Mora-Lopez’s court testimony in past criminal trials. Authorities released limited details, saying the case was still unfolding.
Mew said the department conducted a pre-employment criminal background check on Mora-Lopez and he also passed a polygraph test. A national fingerprint check also turned up empty.
The arrest was a “bitter pill to swallow” for many in the police department, Mew said.
There are no immediate plans to file state charges, said John Skidmore, a state attorney. He and other officials stressed that the case was still under investigation.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe, from what we know so far, that this gentleman or this officer’s good work for APD has in any way been compromised or questioned,” Skidmore said.
U.S. Magistrate John D. Roberts set bond at $50,000, and ordered Mora-Lopez to home-confinement and electronic monitoring. His defense attorney told the magistrate that Mora-Lopez has a wife and child in Alaska and has close ties to Anchorage, where he has lived since the late 1980s.
“He’s not going anywhere,” Dayan said.
The wife could not be reached by phone for comment Friday.
The passport fraud case is similar to one involving a Mexican national who took the identity of a dead cousin who was a U.S. citizen in order to become a Milwaukee police officer. Oscar Ayala-Cornejo was deported to Mexico in 2007.
Without taking a stand one way or the other on the quagmire of immigration policy, this kind of stuff is going to happen more often until someone, somewhere, figures out a way to make our borders a reasonable place to visit.
Of course, checking a reference or two might have helped too.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!