Background Check Could Have Stopped This Scam
December 8, 2008
What do a couple billionaires, a former President Clinton confidant, a retired appeals court justice, Las Vegas casinos and five NFL quarterbacks have in common? They all invested in a company called “Pay By Touch” led by a man named John P. Rogers. The company was supposedly developing biometric authentication technology that could be used to generate financial transactions through thumb print identification.
Now, all of these people have another thing in common: their millions of investment dollars have been squandered away by the company and its top executive. What’s worse, it’s not the first time John Rogers has done this. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that he did the same thing with a company in Minneapolis several years earlier. They also documented a laundry list of illegal, unethical and irresponsible behavior perpetrated by Rogers since 1999.
According to the report, “Rogers ‘had a common name, and he never claimed to have done anything special before,’ the former insider said. Only ‘minimal’ background checks were performed, he said.”
Sounds like quite a few people need a refresher course on how to conduct a proper employment background check.
So exactly what could the company and its investor found out about Rogers from a simple background check?
- A Criminal Record Search would have revealed convictions for disorderly conduct, physically abusing his girlfriend, trashing another girlfriend’s house
- A Civil Record Search would have at least revealed a $35,000 civil judgment against him for failing to repay a loan
- A Credit Report would have at least revealed $30,000 in liens for failure to by state income taxes in 1996.
- A Substance Abuse Test might have revealed a dependence on alcohol and drugs
If I were an employer or investor of this companys’, each of these items might have given me pause for concern. When grouped together, there is no way I would have gotten involved. And if someone would have been willing to spring for the $100 background check, perhaps that company wouldn’t have lost more than $340 million in venture capital.