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.