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EAS Bans two men for online job scam

Two men who generated £200k in a scam that saw jobseekers pay to apply for non-existent jobs have been banned from any involvement in running an employment agency for seven years.

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) brought legal proceedings against the Newcastle-based pair Ronald Clark and Ian Johnson. They placed advertisements for posts that did not exist across national press, the internet and Jobcentres, tricking applicants into ringing expensive premium rate numbers, and charging them £25 for a ‘careers pack’ and administration fees.

Company names used by the men included AJ Dada Services, Albion Computer Services, Chapman Computer Systems, Data Entry Jobs, DH Data and Net Homeworkers Recruitment. In addition to it being illegal for an employment agency to demand or receive any fee from any person for the purpose of finding them work, an EAS spokesperson tells Recruiter that an employment agency placing a job advertisement and using a premium rate number for work-seekers to apply could in breach of the Employment Agencies Act 1973.

The ban was put in place yesterday (6 February) by an employment tribunal. A criminal case had already been heard in February of last year, with both men pleading guilty to charge including obtaining a money transfer by deception money and fraud by abuse of position.

Johnson was sentenced to 30 weeks’ imprisonment, while Clark’s 34-week sentence was suspended for 18 months.

A full list of people specifically banned from running an employment agency or employment business is maintained by the EAS and available online. With Clark and Johnson’s names yet to be added to the list as goes to press, there are currently a total of 17 names on the list, with bans ranging in length from five to 10 years.

Comments employment relations minister Jo Swinson: “Today’s ruling shows we will take the strongest form of action and should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can mislead people in this way.

“A well-run private recruitment sector plays an important role in ensuring that the UK’s labour market works effectively. It is essential that employment agencies operate within the law.”
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