TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Police say a Florida man set up fake job interviews and even collected urine samples from potential applicants, so he could access their Social Security numbers, bank information and other personal data.
Gerald Howard Washington was charged with criminal use of personal identification information and organized communications fraud after Tallahassee police say he stole personal information from multiple job seekers.
Arrest papers say Washington rented office space at a building downtown. Online ads said “Howard Enterprises” was looking to hire 1,100 people in the Tallahassee area. Police say Howard invited applicants in for interviews and then snared social security numbers, bank account information for direct deposits, and even collected urine samples.
Tallahassee Police Department Spokesman Officer David Northway said, “They started to follow the trail and realized that Mr. Washington was not a prospective employer in any way shape or form.”
Authorities said Wednesday that Washington posted online ads claiming he was hiring for 1,100 Tallahassee-based jobs. He set up a temporary office in the state capital and personally met with many of the job seekers. He also allegedly accessed their Social Security numbers, bank information and collected a $25 application fee.
Authorities said Washington told applicants they were hired and gave them a start date, even though the jobs did not exist.