March 7th, 2023 | Sterling

Employer Beware – Risks When Recruiting

HR teams are challenged every day with a variety of different tasks. In addition, they are regularly faced with new obstacles like time pressures, talent shortages, and even world-changing events like the pandemic.

However, one challenge that has persisted since the dawn of recruitment is that of identifying and weeding out fraudulent candidates from the hiring process.

In this article, we’ve collected the latest employment fraud cases from around the world, along with our recommendations about how you can help to protect your business from fraudulent candidates and financial risk.

Heisting Jobs at a Hospice

In 2004, Jon Andrewes fraudulently obtained a job as chief executive at a hospice in Somerset, United Kingdom, using false qualifications and experience in his job application. He also successfully applied to two other paid roles within the National Health Service (NHS) during his tenure, using the same false experience and qualifications.

Mr Andrewes’ employment and appointments ended in 2015, when the truth about his qualifications were finally discovered. He was charged with fraud and deception and sentenced to two years in prison. His full earnings over the period from 2004 to 2015 were calculated at £643,602.91. This represents a significant loss for the hospice and the NHS – not only financially but also in terms of the expertise that they could have hired in the roles instead of Mr Andrewes.

Employment fraud is particularly worrying in industries where there is a high level of vulnerability on the part of customers (or patients). It is strongly recommended that organisations in high-trust industries like healthcare implement a comprehensive background check program to verify that candidates have suitable integrity and background for a role in the industry.

Documents in Question

In India, a sobering investigation revealed that at least 250 people with fake certificates got jobs in various government departments, including the armed services petroleum department, railways and more, over the course of 38 years in Rajkot, India.

Alarmingly, the scam was flourishing since 1983, and that unqualified students getting jobs in government departments are not new. When it comes to hiring employees, there are ways that companies can increase their safety, security, and confidentiality.

This case shows the importance of conducting thorough background screening when hiring candidates. While background screening must be performed carefully and accurately, it is an important way to protect a businesses and institutions.

When conducting background checks on your candidates, we recommend leveraging the expertise and reach of a global background check provider like Sterling. Global providers will have the existing infrastructure and contacts in place to conduct screening in an efficient and accurate manner, enabling businesses to hire safely and efficiently.

Negligent Hiring In Dallas

An employee of a Dallas telecommunications company made a service call to an 83-year-old female customer but ended up killing the woman and stealing her credit cards. He was arrested, pled guilty to murder, and was later sentenced to life in prison.

Subsequently, the organization who hired the man was also found guilty of negligent hiring of an employee and unsafe practices and ordered to pay damages to the woman’s estate. This employer was found to have eliminated its employee background check program and did not conduct any background checks on the employee.

This case found that   “employers can be held civilly responsible for their employee’s acts if the employer knew or should have known of the employee’s potential risk to cause harm, or if the risk to cause harm would have been discovered by a reasonable investigation of the employee’s background.” It sets a precedent that businesses need to take steps to make themselves aware of the background of employees and their potential risk to cause harm. It is no longer sufficient to rely on a candidate’s application alone; rather, thorough background checks must be conducted by businesses, who should also retain background check records.

How Can Businesses Help Protect Themselves from Fraudulent Candidates?

All these cases demonstrate how important it is for businesses to conduct due diligence during the recruitment process to help ensure that candidates are thoroughly background checked and screened prior to making an employment offer.

Employment lawyer Sue Gilchrist, from Pinsent Masons said, “Strong due diligence is needed in recruitment to avoid errors… particularly checks relating to regulated roles, and to ensure compliance with immigration checks which must be undertaken. Failures regarding the latter can result in criminal [and civil] penalties.

“Honesty is an integral and essential part of the employer-employee relationship. A breach of trust will often form grounds for dismissal.”

Sterling is the expert at delivering comprehensive background check services to businesses in the Asia-Pacific region. We have nuanced knowledge of each of the markets in which we operate and can offer tailored advice and services to your business.

If you’re looking to help safeguard your business from fraudulent candidates, contact us on to discuss your needs.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.