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You may not believe this but I have been waiting for a story like this for a while.  We have written countless times (including 5 minutes ago) about school systems failing to conduct proper background checks.  It appears Davidson County did something right!  They caught a fugitive looking to work as a teacher with kids in a school.

Newly Hired Davidson Co. Teacher Was a Fugitive

LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A woman hired to teach in the Davidson County school system failed a background check and will be returned to Maryland to face criminal charges.

Arlene Denetta Hudson, 42, of High Point was arrested last week after a criminal history check revealed she was wanted by Maryland State Police for stealing a car in September 2005 from a Toyota dealership in Westminster, Md.

School officials notified the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office after Hudson’s background check turned up the criminal charges. A school resource officer then arrested her.


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Back to the Background Check

Published on 26 August 2008 by in Criminal Records


Another story about schools failing our children by not conducting proper background checks.

Back to the Background Check

By Eric Ringham

Every once in a while, you see a mistake repeated often enough that you wonder whether there’s business opportunity at hand. Case in point: a Sunday Star Tribune story by Jim Walsh and Patrice Relerford about yet another executive whose personal information went unchecked before hiring.

This situation involves the administrator who is the focus of an investigation into $160,000 missing from a Minneapolis charter school. Joel Pourier signed on six years ago to be the finance director at Heart of the Earth/Oh Day Aki charter school. He had been an unlicensed math teacher at another school — a situation that begs another set of questions. But he told a Heart of the Earth staffer he had an MBA, with an emphasis in finance. He was hired, then promoted to executive director. No one bothered to see if he really had an MBA from Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb. — which would have taken a simple phone call to the school. No one verified two other false claims: that he had a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Schenectady County Community College in New York, or an associate’s degree from a Kansas school. The bachelor’s degree claim alone should have been a red flag: a two-year college had a granted a four-year degree? Possible, but unusual.


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Be wary of who you are hiring!  When hiring someone from a foreign country a title of “doctor” can mean many things.   Utilizing a solid global screening or international screening program is more important than ever.  Simply verifying a professional license or checking the equivalency of a license could make a big difference.  Imagine the embarrassment of hiring a doctor only to find out he is a doctor of nothing!

Highly “Educated” Dictators of Tehran

The fiasco of the clumsily forged Oxford doctoral diploma of the Iranian interior minister is comically tragic. Unfortunately for the interior Minister Ali Kordan, he will not be able to join the elite group of Dr. Ahmadinejad, Dr. Larijani, Dr. Khatami, Dr. Maleki, Dr. Rezaii, Dr. Motaki, Dr. Jajili and a thousand other officials with a PhD degree any time soon. However this debacle raises the question, why Tehran´s rulers feel the need to carry the title of “Doctor” to govern?

More than anyone else, these inept executives are conscious of their own incompetence. Most of them have climbed up the same four step career ladder: Revolutionary Guard, prosecutor/torturer/executioner, provincials governor, city mayor or division director, and finally minister/MP/president. Their busy vocational path has left little time for learning skills needed to run the government. Purchasing a PhD diploma has been the logical choice for these rulers to purge intellectuals and educated workforce, and place themselves better to rip off the county´s wealth.

The popularity of the doctoral title among the theocratic dictators is also due to the ill reputation and disgrace associated with religious titles such as “Hojatoleslam” and “Ayatollah” among people. Such religious titles in Iran are now symbols of demagogy, brutality, and despotism.

For those officials who are engaged in interactions with the international communities , such as nuclear negotiation teams, or ambassadors, the doctoral title is used to conceal insincerity and deceitful intents and cunning tactics.


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We wrote a great white paper on workplace violence a few months ago.  Where ours concentrates on the use of background checks, this article offers other tips.

Hidden Threats
There are steps you can take to prevent violence in the workplace

By: Steven R. Peltin and Gregg O. McCrary

More than 70 percent of workplaces in the United States have no formal program or policy to address workplace violence. Yet, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates, 2 million people each year are victims of workplace violence. Eliminating all such violence may be impossible, but employers can and should confront the problem in the following ways:

1. Take security precautions. Companies may deter violent acts by making changes to the workplace or to workplace procedures. If the perpetrator cannot enter the workplace or is intercepted before reaching the intended target, violence may be averted. Precautions could include controlled access to the workplace, enhanced lighting and visibility, alarms, closed-circuit cameras and cellular phones. Employee training is particularly important. Government or private security professionals can assist in evaluating and upgrading security.

2. Screen applicants carefully. Employers should try to exclude candidates with a history of violence or other unsuitable behavior.

3. Adopt and enforce a “zero tolerance” policy for violence or threats of violence. Companies should create a clear policy so the entire organization understands the commitment to proper workplace behavior and the protocol to follow in case of threats or violent conduct. Companies should ensure that the policy is enforced rigorously. Violence or threats in the workplace should lead to termination of employment or exclusion of visitors from the workplace.

4. Create and train a response team. Even smaller employers should have an experienced team to confront threats of violence


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Catchy title, huh?  When I saw this headline, I couldn’t imagine this article had anything whatsoever to do with background checks.  But it actually tells the true story of a company that fell victim to a very elaborate scheme concocted by an employee of one of their business partners.  Coincidentally, it also illustrates why it is important to conduct background checks on your employees, contractors, etc.  Who would’ve thought?

How To Not Get Hacked In Chinese Surgery

By Richard Gould, Asia Times Online

The modern business environment is a Hobbesian affair, and for companies that do not keep ahead of security threats, life can be nasty and brutish. Multinationals deploy a range of tools and tactics to protect their interests, with varying levels of data and network security, anti-corruption mechanisms, physical security, anti-counterfeiting technology, anti-theft devices, electronic tracking systems, access control systems, and more.

But even the most well-designed corporate security schemes occasionally fail. Just as companies’ research and development departments try to stay on the cutting-edge of technical progress, criminals are perpetually developing ways to take advantage of security lapses. Their gain is a company’s loss, and a diverse range of industries can become targets for fraudulent activity that is very difficult to reasonably anticipate.


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Time for another installment of employeescreenIQ’s TWIB Notes (This Week in Background Checks)!  I can already feel the excitement from our readers (hi Mom!).

This week’s post is especially exciting because earlier today, Jason Morris and I recorded a podcast version of the notes, so if you couldn’t get enough of the written post, go ahead and super size it with our Podcast Channel. The week of August 18th brings us the following:

Highlights from employeescreen University:

From the Blog:

That’s all I’ve got.  I’m going to pretend to work for a couple more hours today.  Have a great weekend!

Don’t forget to have your pets spade or neutered!  (What, I can’t steal from Bob Barker?)

Listen to the podcast here:

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We have written about the Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) database before, things have not improved.  Long considered “one of the best…of the worst”, the Texas Statewide Criminal Database is full of holes.  These holes are critical because many industries are required by Texas law to use this system.  What does this mean to residents in Texas?  Teachers, Politicians, Nurses, Doctors etc. are checked through an inadequate system of obtaining criminal records. You have to see the percentages in this article, it will blow your mind.

the Department of Public Safety says counties in the most recent assessment submitted outcomes on just 69 percent of criminal charges

69 Percent, are you kidding me? I realize that in Baseball, failing seven out of ten times means you are an All-Star.  In the world of criminal records even 99 Percent is not good enough.  Fortunately there are some companies in Texas that utilize best practices and do more than just a DPS search.  We have hundreds of clients in Texas and most use a countywide criminal search in addition to the DPS.  If you are relying solely on this system, you must read on!

Counties Fail to Update Cases in Texas’ Crime Database

11:28 PM CDT on Thursday, August 21, 2008

By ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – The state’s criminal database, riddled with holes four years ago, has just as many gaps today.

Although officials in Dallas and other poorly reporting counties promised in 2004 to do better, the Department of Public Safety says counties in the most recent assessment submitted outcomes on just 69 percent of criminal charges – the same percentage as before.

“That’s astonishing. That’s leaving a substantial total number of criminals unreported in the system,” said John Bradley, Williamson County district attorney. “That’s the biggest threat to public safety that you can imagine, particularly in a post-9/11 time when we rely on databases to protect the public.”

Angie Klein, manager of the DPS criminal history records bureau, attributed the counties’ lack of progress to slow resolution of many felony cases, and glitches in big urban counties, which can bring down statewide compliance rates.


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In my post, Madison Square Garden Sued Over Background Check, from earlier this week, I failed to consider an important point in this case: Does the employer have a policy that they do not hire anyone with any type of criminal record?

Why is this important?  While the FCRA allows organizations to conduct background checks on prospective employees, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has rules that govern the use of adverse information specific to criminal records.

The Equal Opportunity Commission has deigned that each and every employment application inquiring about criminal history should include the following disclaimer (or its like):

A criminal conviction will not necessarily be a bar to employment; rather, such information is only relevant in determining whether the conviction is directly related to the job for which you are applying. Factors, such as age and time of the offense, seriousness and nature of the violation, and rehabilitation will be taken into account.

Many states have similarly legislated (or have included in regulations or guidance) that the elements of a crime for which an individual was convicted must be “substantially related” or “directly related” to the job duties of the position sought. Applying a matrix subject to the deficiencies described above is inconsistent with this goal because matrices do not allow for extenuating circumstances, deviations or mistakes that often occur when evaluating the employability of applicants or employees.

What does this mean?  First, employers should be careful of developing blanket policies of not hiring any individual with any type of criminal record.  It also means that employers should be wary of Automatic Adjudication Modules for many reasons including the EEOC concerns. Every criminal record should be evaluated to determine how long ago it occurred, whether the individual is a repeat offender, if the criminal activity relates to the job responsibility, etc.

I also want to thank the individual who helped point out this important omission from my earlier post.

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We just released the latest edition of The Verifier, employeescreenIQ’s free background screening newsletter.  The Verifier XVI includes great content on best practices in employment screening, compliance tips and company news and events.

Check it out at

Let us know if there are more topics you are interested in learning about in future issues at .

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It looks like the State of NJ Education Department has been getting a lot of heat since the diploma mill story hit the news!  In an update it appears they will be revising their policies.  Maybe they read all of the stories we have written on Diploma Mills??

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey’s Education Department says it will come up with rules to stop school administrators from getting extra pay after obtaining graduate degrees from so-called “diploma mills.”

Education Commissioner Lucille Davy announced the plans.

It was recently revealed that officials in Freehold, including superintendent H. James Wasser, had degrees from Breyer State University, a unaccredited university.

State Senate President Richard Codey is calling for the state Attorney General to investigate the issue.

Full Story

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