SPECIAL EDITION: The Federal Trade Commission charges SevenFigureCareers and Craig Chrest with “bilking consumers” for “sham job placement and resume repair services.”
A series of investigative articles appeared here between September 2016 and January 2017 about SevenFigureCareers, an “executive search firm” that charged people money for job interviews with “private equity” (PE) and “venture capital” (VC) firms.
In February 2017 Craig Chrest and Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC — the owner and operator of SevenFigureCareers — filed suit in New Jersey Superior Court against Ask The Headhunter’s principals, claiming the articles were “false.” Our legal team removed the case to U.S. Federal Court (District of New Jersey) and mounted a vigorous defense. While that case is pending, on advice of legal counsel nothing further has been published here in the interim. The original articles have remained online.
On April 30, 2019 the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, dismissed SevenFigureCareers’ suit against the principals of Ask The Headhunter.
FTC Halts Fake Job Opportunity and Resume Repair Operation
Alleges defendants tricked consumers into paying advance fees of up to $2,500 for placement and resume services for jobs that did not exist
February 25, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission charged two companies and their owner with bilking hundreds of thousands dollars annually from consumers for sham job placement and resume repair services. A federal court halted the scheme and froze the defendants’ assets at the FTC’s request.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC, PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com, and their owner, Craig Chrest, sent consumers unsolicited messages through well-known business networking websites, like LinkedIn, falsely claiming to have exclusive relationships with hundreds of private equity and venture capital firms, and telling consumers they were candidates for unadvertised, highly paid executive positions with these firms.
To get an interview, job seekers were required to pay upfront fees of $1,200-$2,500. In many instances, the defendants were pocketing consumers’ money knowing the job opportunities were fake, according to the FTC.
“Consumers should be wary about paying money for a job opportunity or interview,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Paying upfront for job placement services is often a sign of a scam.”
The defendants also deceived job seekers with false claims that those who used their services had a 100 percent interview rate and over an 80 percent placement rate, according to the FTC.
Since at least 2016, the defendants also deceptively sold purported resume repair services, telling consumers that their resumes were deficient and that they could not be considered for a job unless the defendants fixed their resumes. In many instances, the purported job was fake, according to the FTC.
The defendants are charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
The defendants in this case are Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC (also doing business as WWEJSS, Seven Figure Careers, 7FigRecruiters, 7FC, Finnburg Switzer, ResumeterPro, Creating Job Opportunity, Confidential Jobs Only, CJOnly, and CJO Private Equity); PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com, LLC (also doing business as PE Headhunters, Private Equity Headhunters, and PEHHS.COM LLC); and Craig Chrest, who owns and controls both companies.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on February 11, 2019. The FTC has requested the entry of a preliminary injunction that would halt the scheme until trial.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
The Complaint filed against Chrest’s businesses by the FTC in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division alleges in part:
- “since at least 2014, Defendants have deceptively advertised, marketed, promoted, and sold bogus job placement and resume repair services, duping consumers out of millions of dollars.”
- “the job interview is a charade”
- “In many instances, the potential employer does not exist but is a shell entity established and controlled by Defendants.”
- “Defendants have established or controlled websites or created press releases for the purported PE/VC firms”
- “Defendants have similarly used deception to sell purported resume repair services.”
- “Defendants have frequently shut down their operations and re-opened similar operations using new assumed names, websites, or aliases.”
- “In 2017 and 2018, Defendants’ website has used numerous assumed names, including CJOnly and CJO Private Equity.”
- “Defendants have operated a series of websites over the years:
- PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com (2014);
- PEHHS.com (2014); www.sevenfigurecareers.com (2015);
- 7figrecruiters.com, www.FinnbergSwitzer.com, and www.resumeterpro.com (2016); and
- exx20171.com (2017-2018).”
Temporary Restraining Order
In addition to freezing Defendant Chrest’s assets and halting his business activities, the Court has ordered that the following statement be displayed prominently on Chrest’s websites relating to his business activities — “any website used by any Defendant in connection with the advertising, marketing, and promotion of any job placement or resume repair services”:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against Defendants:
Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC (Worldwide), also doing business as WWEJSS, Seven Figure Careers, 7FigRecruiters, 7FC, Finnburg Switzer, ResumeterPro, Creating Job Opportunity, Confidential Jobs Only, CJOnly, and CJO Private Equity;
PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com, LLC, also doing business as Private Equity Headhunters, PE Headhunters, and PEHHS.COM, LLC; and
Craig Nicholas Chrest.
The lawsuit alleges that Defendants have engaged in deceptive practices in connection with the advertising, marketing, promotion and sales of job placement and resume repair services. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas has issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting the alleged deceptive practices.
You may obtain additional information directly from the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC has also published this post on its Business Blog, offering suggestions to consumers and advising “to do your research before paying for placement services”: “Executive search firm” charged with giving job seekers the business.
There are two legal cases:
- The action filed in 2017 by Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions LLC, a/k/a SEVEN FIGURE CAREERS and Craig Chrest against the principals of Ask The Headhunter, and
- The FTC’s new action against Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC (also doing business as WWEJSS, Seven Figure Careers, 7FigRecruiters, 7FC, Finnburg Switzer, ResumeterPro, Creating Job Opportunity, Confidential Jobs Only, CJOnly, and CJO Private Equity); PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com, LLC (also doing business as PE Headhunters, Private Equity Headhunters, and PEHHS.COM LLC); and Craig Chrest.
While the case involving Ask The Headhunter is pending, I will not participate in discussion on this matter — but you are of course welcome to post your comments. When the case is resolved, I will chime in.
Hmmm…given this is true, then I wonder how many other places/persons are out there who claim to be able to fix your resume so that it gets past the ATS system, get you interviews immediately, offer to coach you personally, etc. (but in doing so, you ultimately have to pay a lot of money). I’ve seen at least a few of these out there just recently.
I guess the bottom line is to be wary of places or people making these kind of promises.
There are legitimate career coaches and resume doctors. But they don’t want huge amounts of money.
Coach, $100 to $250 per session depending on location and prestige. Usually two or three sessions is it.
Resume fixer, somewhat similar, maybe a bit less. One time charge.
Multiple thousands of dollars, something is fishy.
There are also potentially organizations that are funded by your state to provide those services for free if you meet eligibility guidelines. Look into the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, if you’re someone who needs that service.
Nick, been following your column since the late 90’s. You provide a tremendous free service to American employees in all fields, locales, and levels. Your column has been and continues to be a true testament to the power of egalitarian information sharing on the internet. Kudos to you for continuing to share – despite obstacles – for so many years. From the footer on your website, it looks like next year is your 25th anniversary. Happy early anniversary, and thank you!
Nick, Thank you for exposing these frauds. I’ve always thought that there must be a special place in Hell reserved for those who exploit desperate people.
Nick, congratulations on exposing this fraud and on your excellent investigative journalism! Good work.
Bravo Nick ! In a world over-run with super-criminals and no comic book Marvel characters to save us it’s nice to know there are a few real heroes fighting for justice !
A couple of years ago I spent about $25 dollars on Groupon for a company to restyle and reformat my resume. Best money I ever spent. However generally speaking, there are some specialized job targets that do require a different resume protocol, such as some government jobs. The extra monetary investment in a resume and maybe coaching, by a company that does that kind of work-legitimately-is warranted. At least in my opinion.
As always, thanks for what you do. It’s always great to read the newsletter.
Thanks for the update and good work, Nick. Now can your attorneys turn a laser focus on all of the thieving bankers that never had to deal with their criminal behaviors from 2008? Pleeeeez!
When I make a comment on this site, I do not name particular companies. If I have a question about a given company I email Nick.
I do think it is fair that we are warned about particular scams, but it is up to Nick to decide when to put himself on the line, such as in this case.
I do find this web site very helpful.
Thanks for going after those bandits, Nick. And CONGRATS to you and the FTC for never giving up! You are an inspiration, friend. My father would have been proud of you.
NICK “You dah MAN!!!!” Also, “They sued “Ask The Headhunter”’s principals,…“Uhhhh, that be You Nick?” I can’t help be imagine that this crappola is going on World Wide with an electronic twist, screwing all the developing nations kids; they all want to get ahead fast.
These companies hurt executive job seekers and tarnish the career services reputation. I am sure this was not easy for you. Thank you, Nick – this is great news.
Nick, thanks for the update on this and congratulations to you and the FTC for exposing these lowlifes for what they are–scammers and thieves. I hope there is a special place in hell for those who take advantage of desperate people, bilking them out of money and lying to them about jobs and services. But for now, I’ll settle for court judgments rendered against them, putting them out of business, and fining the bejeezers out them so they don’t do this again.
There’s nothing wrong with naming names when it comes to these kinds of scams. How else can others be warned if they don’t know of whom they should be suspicious?
Thank you for putting yourself on the line and for relentlessly pursuing these questionable practices. When you first posted about this, I had just lost a job at a university. They *kindly* (cough) offered me the services of their “placement consultant” at a cost of up to $1500. I spoke with the person just as I read your book and saw immediately they had nothing to offer. Used your book to get a new job at a 50% increase in salary. Now if you could just do something about the winters here…Best wishes for the swift resolution of the suit and hoping you get your expenses covered given the findings.
I am truly glad to see results taking shape this way. I was very tired of hearing about these questionable practices from my clients, often after I submitted their new resume to them. I have heard of the emails they have received from these (or similar) scammers stating that the new resume does not meet ATS standards, etc.. Next, they promote their own services to the jobseekers in these emails, and ask for large sums of money…. Thank you so much for creating all this awareness and for taking action. It was really necessary.
Mandy Fard – CPRW
I went to the website SevenFigureCareers just now and do not see the presence of the Temporary Restraining Order on the website.
Would thta not mean they are in flagrant violation of the law?
congruent and aligned.
Even though the FTC put out a restraining order against this group doing the scam… it is back with another supposed “recruiter” and company that “fixes” resumes to make them ATS-friendly. An old client of mine just got their letters. A lot of effort went into shutting down this scam, with a “miracle” FTC press release and court filing about it – but it is still there. BE CAREFUL.