Robert Jamison didn't show up for his first court hearing May 18.
He better have been shopping for a lawyer.
The East Memphis CPR instructor's criminal charges and mounting credibility problems illustrate how job-hunting sites like careerbuilder.com and monster.com can be minefields.
The 47-year-old Jamison, principal of Veracity Medical Group, 3364 Poplar Ave., Suite 106, turned himself in to Shelby County Sheriff's deputies May 4 on charges of theft and computer crime.
According to the affidavit of complaint, Jamison improperly copied CPR training DVD's and ripped off at least ten victims with falsified instructor licenses.
Each victim is a job applicant whose resume Jamison culled from a job-hunting site.
Jennifer Binkley of Atoka, TN, says Jamison pulled her resume from careerbuilder.com. She says she paid Jamison $25 for CPR training and another $100 for her instructor card after watching a training DVD... with the understanding she'd be employed as a CPR instructor.
But the American Heart Association confirms Jamison's instructor cards are fakes.
"Jamison is a certified instructor, but Veracity Medical Group is not an authorized training center," says Kate Lino, spokesperson for the AHA's headquarters in Dallas. "It cannot be on those cards. It's operating as an individual business separate from the American Heart Association."
"The license does not en-license me to be an instructor," says Binkley. "It's just a piece of plastic with (Jamison's) name on it to make him look good."
Jamison is free on a $10,000 bond. He insists that he is approved to issue the cards on the authority of the Southeast Community Training Center of Newton, AL, an AHA-approved center.
"He was only approved to teach CPR classes, not CPR instructors," says the center's director Greg Gainey. "He is no longer associated with the training center."
Veracity Medical Group has a F-rating with the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South. The bureau has logged 14 complaints in the last three years (seven in the last 12 months), alleging false promises of employment, no refunds and Jamison's questionable credentials.
In fact, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission investigated Jamison for teaching courses it regulates that Jamison was neither qualified nor certified to teach.
"(Jamison) did offer courses like phlebotomy tech, medical assistant (but) he's never had authorization to offer (those) courses," says Julie Woodruff, the commission's director of regulatory affairs.
"They warned me to stop. I stopped," says Jamison.
When we asked him how he could take $125 from folks like Binkley who were under the impression they were going to be employed, then have nothing to show for it, Jamison answered, "They've got something to show for it. They know how to save a life."
Many of the BBB's complaints against Jamison are folks whose resumes Jamison answered on job sites. Even though these sites are legitimate, they are more or less social networking sites with flexible screening policies.
You use them at your own risk.
Look out for:
* POOR GRAMMAR OR TYPOS. That's either a sign of a total lack of professionalism or a sign of a scam artist testing the waters.
* BEWARE PAYING CASH UP FRONT for licenses, certificates or training before you see paycheck-one. A legitimate employer should at least put you on the payroll first.
* BEWARE REQUESTS TO DEPOSIT A CHECK, THEN FORWARD CASH BACK. Those checks will be counterfeit.
* GOOD INCOME & FREE TIME. That's the ancient double promise that is never kept!