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NEWS REPORTS > THE SUBURBAN 20 MARCH 2002


Job scammer faces new charges
March 20, 2002
By Diodora Bucur

The Consumer Protection Office has charged Côte St. Luc resident Harris Black with eight counts of misleading customers into using his job-placement services, spokesman Georges-André Levac confirmed Tuesday. Black faces a minimum of $6,464 in fines.

The Consumer Protection Office reports 27 complaints against Black and his various companies since 1996. In 2000, Black was fined $2,000 for breaking the Consumer Protection Act. Black told The Suburban he hasn't decided whether to plead guilty to the latest charges.

“I [have] run a very legitimate business for many years,” he said. “I have no comment at this time.”

The Suburban reported in January that Black remains in business despite repeated complaints to Quebec¹s Consumer Protection Office.

Former private investigator Gary McHugh, whose daughter Melissa claims she was taken for $700, says Black used a variety of names in job-placement and help-wanted ads he places in newspapers and on government websites. Documents show that in some of the ads, Black uses Malka Schwartzman as the name of a LaSalle-based company. The Consumer Protection Office says Schwartzman operates Phoenix Inc., one of Black¹s legally registered companies. McHugh claims Schwartzman is Black’s mother.

Other sources claim Black sometimes “borrows” names of placement agencies and their addresses. Advanced Career Solutions is one example.

“He is registered with Bell as being here [...] Our address is correct in the ad, the name is correct in the ad, but they are talking to him, not us,” said agency owner Marco Genio, adding that the agency has nothing to do with Black. “We never had contact with him [...] I don’t know why he chose me, but I¹m worried about my reputation and credibility.”

On other occasions, Black uses individual names, such as Sabrina, Helen, Harry Mitchell or Dr. Cohen.

“I think it’s disgusting what he is doing to people who are not employed. A lot of them are either single parents, students or seniors - he does this without any remorse,” McHugh said, claiming he heard of at least 40 people who got ripped off. They were responding to job ads reading “no French required” and “good salaries.”

“In many cases it was an error of judgment on the part of victims - that’s what Harris Black is preying on.” In other cases, people don’t even know how Black got hold of their CVs.

He’s got CVs of hundreds of people. He’s got CVs from the same person several times.

If you have information on Harris Black, contact us at senseigrm@sympatico.ca.