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
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
“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