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NEWS REPORTS > VANCOUVER COURIER, July 4, 2007


Women warn public about 'pediatrician/job recruiter'
By Sandra Thomas-Staff writer
Vancouver Courier
July 4, 2007
 

Call it women's intuition.

When West End resident Elena Vrobel met with a man representing himself as a professional employment recruiter last Tuesday afternoon, she immediately felt something wasn't right.

It turns out Vrobel's gut instinct was dead on.

"I was watching the news on GlobalTV the next night and I saw the same guy on TV," said Vrobel. "It was a story about a dating scam from [the website] Craigslist and this guy was portraying himself as a doctor. It was the same guy I met Tuesday only he was using a different name."

As it turns out, the man, who falsely portrayed himself as a pediatrician in the dating section of Craigslist, is accused on an Internet website of running employment scams in Montreal and Vancouver dating back almost a decade. In some cases the man, who's real name is Harris Black, has been charged with taking money from people for job-placement services he doesn't provide.

According to a website developed by alleged victims of the man, www.harrisblackwatch.com, Black also uses the names Harry Williams, Harry Black, Harry Simon, Jahn Aston, Steven Shaw, David Gogo, Mark Canterbury, Allan Namer, Mark Linton, Tom Lang and Harry Kennedy.

Vrobel said Black told her his office was located in Maple Ridge, but he would be in Vancouver Tuesday so they could meet at a local coffee shop. While Black told Vrobel his name was Harry Kennedy and his company web address was workvancouver.com, according to the women interviewed by GlobalTV, he was using the name Dr. Kenny Goldberg on his Craigslist personal ad.

Vrobel said when she met "Harry Kennedy," he asked to see her resume, which she had not brought along. When she was called by a woman representing Black to set up the interview, she was told her resume had been forwarded to him by another employment agency. Vrobel suspects she inadvertently sent Black her resume herself, by applying for what was likely a fake job posting on Craigslist.

"I've worked with other recruiters before and they always have a copy of my resume," said Vrobel. "So I thought it was very odd he didn't have a copy so I asked him for a business card."

Vrobel said Black told her his cards were being printed. Vrobel also told Black she had attempted to check out his website, but with no luck.

"He told me his website was under construction," she said. "That's when the alarm bells started to go off. I asked him if there was a fee and he said there would only be a fee if he had to redo my resume and that he only charges about $50."

Accusers allege that one of Black's scams is charging resume-writing fees of between $50 and $100 for work he doesn't complete.

According to Surrey resident Melanie Bradshaw, the woman hired by Black to set up interviews for him, he emailed more than 200 resumes to her. Bradshaw had responded to an ad on Craigslist for a scheduler posted by Black, who described himself as a corporate headhunter. Like Vrobel, Bradshaw said her intuition kicked in and she quit after two days of calling mostly women to set up interviews with him.

Ironically, after meeting with Vrobel, Black called Bradshaw to complain some people were showing up without resumes and explained it was her job to ensure these potential employees knew they were expected to bring one to the interview.

"I thought if nine out of 10 people are taking their resumes and one doesn't, what's the big deal? That's not my problem," said Bradshaw. "But he was furious."

It wasn't until Bradshaw saw the news story that she put two and two together. Now Bradshaw is concerned because Black has so much personal information about the hundreds of women who submitted resumes. And she feels bad she arranged the interviews that took place.

"Now I'm freaked out about the guy and I have these hundreds of resumes," said Bradshaw. "I'm really worried about what to do with these resumes. I called the police but so far they haven't asked for them."

VPD media liaison officer Tim Fanning said police have received several complaints about Black. He adds there is no ongoing criminal investigation because no crime has been committed-yet.

"But our officers have spoken with him," said Fanning. "And he's well aware we're keeping an eye on him."

Fanning calls the complaints regarding Black a good reminder that people shouldn't share too much personal information with someone they've met on the Internet.

"These con men are slick," said Fanning. "They tell you what you want to hear and then walk away with your money. The Internet just opens the door for more victims."

The Courier reached Black on his cell phone Thursday morning, but he said he was "doing an interview" and would call back. He then hung up without waiting for a reply and didn't return the call.

published on 07/04/2007

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