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Date: 14th November 2013
Detective Services: Background Checks / Employment Screening
Detective Services acted for Deep Sea Explorations^ on a number of previous matters including background checks for prospective employees. The HR Department in Perth had placed hundreds of candidates into positions up and down the West coast of Australia working on a number of remote offshore Rigs. Receiving what appeared to be a straight forward & standard assignment to provide a background check for an employee, already appointed and working on the rig as a Paramedic. Further questioning uncovered a number of factors didn't add up and HR wanted to conduct further due diligence as concern had been raised by a number of personnel.
Concern was raised after a Leasehand presented for first-aid treatment to the Paramedic with a shallow cut requiring 5 stitches with local anesthetic. A straightforward and quick procedure for a paramedic with experience working under pressure in stressful and dynamic environments. However, he was unable to start his next shift reporting to his Supervisor that the wound was, "weeping and looks as though it had been sewn up by a kid".
Another employee was airlifted to the mainland one week later with a non-work related medical condition. During the 2 hour transit the Flight Nurse noted that the Rig Paramedic hadn't followed basic pre-transport patient care which Paramedics are rigorously trained in to maximise patient preparedness for a journey. This raised concern for the Flight Nurse and reported through the correct channels & the Union shop steward. However, the Flight Nurse noted the paramedic "…appeared capable & confident".
Detective Services Solution:
With the brief of information gathered it was clear to Detective Services that further investigation into the Paramedic was warranted. It was imperative to have a factual & detailed report to the HR department before the subject was due to return to the RIg in just 9 days. Basic identification verification, background, including Police Check & financials returned as true & factual, the employee was indeed who they stated to be. There was no criminal or financial concerns with this person and to all appearances they were a solid individual.
With no referees listed on the CV & being advised the specialist recruiters had completed the process before the interviews were arranged, the investigator dug further. It was found each party believed the other had completed the task. The investigator attempted to contact the Paramedic seeking clarity on the recruitment process & referees, but all calls were avoided and the employee didn't go home to their contact address.
A verbal progress report was given to the HR team giving an indication in which direction the information was taking the investigation, allowing the HR team to put in place contingencies.
Further investigation was undertaken into the direct experience of this individual. His last place of employment listed on his CV was contacted for a reference which returned a very un-settling response from the Human Resources department stating, "…no record of employment for this individual… ". What our investigator discovered next was not so much a shock as a significant liability for Deep Sea Explorations. In Australia there is no register for Paramedics, as there is for your local GP, leaving no simple and effective registration system to recognise the profession. Alarmingly and astonishingly this apparently thoroughly educated, well presented and experienced person had merely completed a 1st Aid Course through St John Ambulance (WA) and it was established the course was outdated, completed 10 years prior! Further investigation proved each degree, diploma & certificate the Paramedic had included in his CV were fake.
The private investigators factual report established the 'Paramedic' was unqualified, without experience and had committed fraud by forging certificates of qualifications & work history. With a breakdown in internal processes it was established the specialist recruiters were in large part liable for the placement of a fraudulent candidate. Legal proceedings uncovered forgeries produced by the theft of a colleagues certificates at a previous workplace.
The quick turnaround service by Detective Services enabled the HR team to roster around the sudden drop in staffing. Averting a potential shutdown of the Rig, with would cost up to $1 million dollars a day in expenses and lost earnings due to one fraudulent employee exposing colleagues to potentially life threatening situations.
When the stakes are high some unscrupulous individuals are willing to go to great lengths to secure high paying jobs and maybe the lure of a new career. Enabled by the proliferation of online 'Resume Builders' allowing individuals to make a career change or leap a couple of levels without so much as a University enrolment form. As a result it's become more important than ever to ensure the credentials presented by the candidate are in fact genuine.
This year Detective Services has experienced an increase in comprehensive background checks to back up standard Police Checks, along with investigative procedures to uncover fake Linkedin profiles and social profiles designed specifically to build an identity and reassure HR teams of their credible professional and personal identity. Our 'Paramedic' knew there was a chance he would be investigated and he created an elaborate online presence to escape the casual eye. He just didn't know it was going to be Detective Services doing the 'reference' checking into his background, the very reason some of Australia's largest recruiters trust our services with high stakes candidates.
^names & minor details changed to protect client and personal reputations