Owasso tech job
... deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. —definition of fraud in Wikipedia
by Keith Purtell - Nov. 1, 2018
9:36 a.m./March 16 2016 While doing a job search from Hardesty Regional Library in Tulsa, Okla., I received an unexpected phone call. The caller identified herself as Taryn Mason (AKA Taryn Davis) at AppleOne in Tulsa, saying they found my web developer resume online and were offering me an
Owasso tech job. I had never heard of AppleOne, but this offer was what my resume addressed. Mason followed up on the call by sending me emails with
Owasso tech job as the subject line ( PDF | Image ).
1 p.m./March 17 2016 I arrived at the Tulsa AppleOne offices on 41st Street for the appointment to discuss the
Owasso tech job. Mason met me at the counter. She asked me to quickly sign some electronic documents online before meeting with her associate. A computer was set up and ready to go, because
Mr. Keeney was waiting to talk to me about the
Owasso tech job. She instructed me to open each document and scroll straight to the bottom and sign it (electronically).
In a meeting room, Michael Keeney asked me
What brings you here? I told him that I was a web developer looking for work, and I had received a call from his co-worker Taryn Mason offering an
Owasso tech job.
Huh, that’s funny. We don’t have any tech jobs. Keeney then offered a detailed description of his career and employment struggles, and his opinion that the market for jobs in Tulsa was so bad that most would not pay more than $15 per hour. He then said AppleOne was going to send me to be a bill collector at CapitalOne in Owasso, just north of Tulsa.
I was alarmed by this twist, and I asked for copies of the documents I signed. His response was
I don't think so. I thought he was saying they were internal documents to which I was not entitled or that were of no interest to me. But I at least made a mental note to track of every scrap of documentation in the future.
The bill collector job was a disaster. I flunked the CapitalOne training exam. Most of the people in the training class seemed to have aptitude in finance or math. I was also unable to meet the basic requirements of the floor managers. I tried to put more energy into my external job search but it was already maxed out, and I was burning a big chunk of energy trying to be a bill collector.
CapitalOne managers monitored performance by displaying each person's name and rank on a large whiteboard. Each time I walked past that, I saw my name at the bottom.
One day a co-worker heard me trying to handle a phone call. She sat down at my computer and typed some financial material. The successful processing of that material briefly resulted in my daily rank within the
pod group going up a notch. I'm pretty sure our manager did not know it was her work not mine.
After a career of successful work in technology and communication, this was a daily humiliation. Plus, a number of the temp and permanent workers told me the standard practice for anyone deemed
Not a good fit was to have security guards frog-march them out of the building like a criminal. The situation was rapidly becoming unbearable. Stress ramped up day after day.
9:50 a.m./June 8 2016 I submitted my resignation to managers via email, which included a mention of the fact I was signed up as an employee via the promise of a technology job.
10:51 a.m./June 9, 2016 I wrote and asked AppleOne for a normalization in our relationship; that the work they arranged for me be something where I had experience and demonstrated aptitude. My email said ...
Folks I'm keeping in touch with [you] going forward. The job search I'm doing now will be based more on networking, since the resume-distribution approach has not been fruitful. Please let me know if you have a role for which my internet and communications skills would be appropriate.
Mason responded eight minutes later (on company letterhead) by openly mocking me, mentioning the timing of my resignation notice and saying AppleOne would do nothing to help me.
... Going forward, we will not be able to help you in the future.
1:53 p.m./June 9 2016 In response to Mason's note, I wrote back:
I am familiar with what happens to people who do not have the skill set for CapitalOne; escorted from the building by security guards. There was no
two week notice for those folks. AppleOne has a certain degree of professional responsibility for the people over whom it has power, especially once those people have appeared at your offices and signed the paperwork. That includes a responsibility to be honest about job descriptions.
I copied that note to Patricia Bryant, a vice president at AppleOne/ACT‑1 headquarters in California, the only AppleOne manager whose email address I could locate. I hoped that Bryant would moderate the actions of her staff in the Tulsa office.
Not only did Bryant never respond (to me), she apparently tacitly approved of what the Tulsa office was doing. Mason's sign-off
Going forward, we will not be able to help you in the future. turned out to be another layer of deception by implying a clean break.
Behind the pretense of normal office procedures, Mason secretly launched an expensive and elaborate retaliation to deprive me of my entire financial safety net. That plan involved getting permission from local AppleOne management (Bill Bryan?), and contacting an outside company with a long record of creating hardships for working people nationwide. But, that gets ahead of the narrative. About a month went by ...
July 7, 2016* I telephoned the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) in Oklahoma City. I told the OESC rep that my relationship with my most recent employer had unexpectedly ended and I was uncertain of the effect on my unemployment insurance. He dug through some records and said the OESC contacted AppleOne on June 14 about my status but did not get a response. He also said AppleOne had turned the matter over to a
St. Louis company named TALX. I had never heard of that company. The OESC representative also said he did not understand why AppleOne was involving an outside party. There were several more exchanges as he pulled up documents on his computer screen looking for details. Eventually, I thanked him and said good-bye. [CLARIFICATION: I got an email on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, from Jacqueline Nichols at OESC, trying to help me find out why my unemployment checks were delayed. On either that date, or on July 6 or July 7, she invited me to visit the
Skyline OESC office in Tulsa to use their phones for job search. I have used
July 7 in this document because that's the first time
TALX shows up in my emails as an object of research. More below...]
Subsequent research revealed TALX has been repeatedly under scrutiny by the federal government and the target of investigative journalists for preying on unemployed people. Specifically, TALX was helping companies increase their profit margin by cutting off qualified people from their unemployment insurance, rather than said companies focusing on quality products and services—the traditional path to corporate profits.
Later, I received in the mail an automated printout from the OESC stating my unemployement insurance had been cut off. I immediately went online and filed an appeal. They responded and set a date for a hearing. I began doing deep research and preparation, including contacting friends and fellow professionals.
Aug. 15, 2016 I dialed into a hearing-by-telephone with the OESC. I had been told just prior that AppleOne/TALX would not attend, which was a positive indicator. My research indicated that employers don't show up when they realize a hearing will probably go against them.
OESC hearing officer Stephanie D. Jackson immediately surprised me with two declarations: 1) She would not discuss most of the documentation I submitted, and would rely on several documents she considered to be admitted as evidence, and 2) She denied my right to call witnesses, saying I was the person who submitted the appeal and therefore, in her view, the only person she needed to talk to.
Here is a section from the OESC website regarding witnesses:
At this level of the administrative process, the parties participate in a hearing conducted by an OESC hearing officer. All parties appear before the hearing officer at the same time. An audio recording is made of each hearing. Each side is allowed to present witnesses and documentary evidence in support of his or her case, and to cross-examine the witnesses of the opposing party. At this level, parties sometimes bring new, more extensive evidence than what was presented to the claims adjudicator for the original claim, protest and determination.
Violating the OESC's own policies on the right to call witnesses was not an impulse decision. It served an important purpose for the hearing officer's bosses at AppleOne/TALX. One of the matters to be decided in these situations is whether or not the employee was in jeopardy of losing his/her job. As someone without any aptitude or experience in finance or mathematics, someone who was not gaining the minimum skills necessary to retain his job, I was very much in jeopardy of being fired, and in a particularly ugly way. The people who were in the best position to testify to that? The same people I had called to be witnesses; CapitalOne managers familiar with what constituted an employee who was
not a good fit. Removing those people from the procedure prevented crucial evidence from being submitted.
The remainder of the hearing was a series of basic questions Jackson asked about the general outline of events.
Aug. 18, 2016 I received a letter dated Aug. 16, 2016, stating there would be no change in the denial of my unemployment insurance. I already knew the OESC denies at least 75% of appeals, according to their own publications. Oklahoma is a
business friendly state, including friendly to businesses that are hostile to ordinary Oklahomans. One thing was puzzling. The original denial was less than one page. It was based on a specific part of Oklahoma law. This latest letter was two and one-half pages. Apparently, due to the evidence and testimony I presented at the hearing, the OESC had to withdraw that legal language as their basis, pull in another chunk of language, and then spend a lot of time explaining why they reshuffled the rules.
Here is part of the wording the OESC hearing officer generated on behalf of corporate executives at TALX and AppleOne:
The claimant signed up with Apple One, a temporary agency, in hopes [ PDF | Image ] of being assigned to a job consistent with his training and prior job history, which is in the information technology field. Once signing up however, the claimant agreed to take an assignment with Capital One, a client of Apple One as a Collections II employee.
I bolded a section containing a crucial word:
At the time I entered the AppleOne offices, my only way to pay for rent, food, fuel for the car, etc. was the weekly $248 unemployment insurance checks from the OESC. Anyone who has had to rely on
UI to stay afloat knows about certain rules: Never fake an entry in your job search log, Never take a job and refuse to do what you are asked, Never show up for a job interview wearing unprofessional clothing, etc... By the time I sat down with Michael Keeney, I had already signed a stack of papers making me an AppleOne employee, believing this was leading to an
Owasso tech job. I did not have the option of saying
No I won't work for you. That would have terminated my Unemployment Insurance. The hearing officer knew of this when she wrote the statement above, because as an OESC employee, she is intimately familiar with their procedures. In a Feb 16, 2018, email, the OESC told me that at least a third of people who refuse a work assignment are subsequently stripped of their financial safety net.
More from the hearing officer:
Soon after beginning work with Capital One, the claimant realized that he was having difficulty understanding and applying the training materials. Although he asked questions during the training, he did not communicate with anyone in management at Capital One at that time that he was having trouble with the work. After leaving the initial training, the claimant was transferred to a hands-on training process, where he continued to struggle. However, he did not inform anyone in management that he was having trouble.
By the time the hearing officer wrote this, she already knew that the training situation at CapitalOne included a continuous stream of information between trainer and students. Why would a trainee go to the trainer who scores the quizes and say
Hey I made a low score on that quiz when the trainer has already seen that low score? None of this was a secret. The hearing officer's assertion about the hands-on training is even weaker. As she wrote that, she had already seen my description of the
board where each trainee's ranking was published for the entire team to see. I was transferred to the hands-on training process by managers because they knew I was having trouble. Not only did managers know how I was doing, so did anyone who walked by our
pod and the whiteboard where names and status were posted.
The actual first step to my being terminated was ...
Here is the hearing officer's capstone:
The claimant believed that the additional training was the first step to being terminated, and, having seen others be terminated, did not want to go through that process.
1 - I never said that (read the documentation). The actual first step to my being terminated was when Mason looked at my web developer resume on Dice.com and decided to trick me ( PDF | Image ) into becoming an AppleOne employee so that AppleOne could impress its client, which wanted more bill collectors.
2 - Also never said that (read the documentation). I said co-workers at AppleOne and CapitalOne had warned me that people deemed
not a good fit were escorted out of the building by security guards as if they were criminals.
Perhaps more to the point, AppleOne knew that I was very unlikely to do well outside my skill set. To use the hearing officer's own language, deceived hires were likely to have
trouble with the work. AppleOne was essentially setting people up to fail, in the hopes that a few might succeed, and that AppleOne might therefore gain some measure of approval from their clients.
Rewarding corrupt employees
I wonder how many of these temp agency cases Jackson has handled. As a
business friendly OESC employee, she would be a natural go-to for companies like AppleOne and TALX. Someone with investigative skills might look into that. Considering that Keeney and Mason found my resume on Dice.com, I wonder how many other techs are lured into temp-agency machinery?
Jackson makes about $50,000 per year. She kept her job after violating several OESC policies and norms in order to please her bosses at AppleOne and TALX. In the following three years, she has presumably been paid an additional $150,000 courtesy of Oklahoma taxpayers.
TALX and AppleOne ended up pocketing ~$4,276 from me; $1,430 in unemployment insurance that I had qualified for, plus $2,846; a conservative estimate of how much they made from my work at the client site. I don't know how they split it; I don't have those details.
The stolen unemployment insurance would have been at least three months of rent in my small apartment. Money that paid for fuel so I could drive to job interviews or to the library to conduct my job search. Barely enough to help pay for groceries and costs of living. Four and one-half months later, I had to leave my apartment and crash with friends and family. I had lived independently since shortly after graduating from high school; now I was literally homeless.
Patricia Bryant, part II
11:04 a.m./Dec. 12, 2016 I wrote a second email to Bryant, reminding her of what happened in Tulsa on her watch and then asking:
Please let me know, through action or inaction, if you are comfortable with this situation going into the new year. Your public statements indicate AppleOne/ACT-1 are organizations with ethics and honor—people to be trusted.
There was no response.
... the documents I requested and to which Keeney had denied me access ...
August 29, 2017 More than a year later, after making an official request, I got the full hearing documentation from OESC—more than 100 pages. While looking through those items I was surprised to read a written assertion from AppleOne, to the effect that they had decided to cut me off because I had allegedly violated their policy regarding how to turn in a notice of resignation. Mason was listed as the author of this assertion. I wondered if said policy was among the documents I requested and to which Keeney had denied me access?
I also wondered how they could make such an assertion in light of the fact that their original job offer—used to lure me into their offices and to sign up—was a deliberate falsehood. There was never an
Owasso tech job as stated in their email and in the initial phone conversation. Keeney himself stated there were no tech jobs. How could AppleOne base our entire relationship on a lie, and then presume to talk about day-to-day procedures as being more important?
Last, an item that did not appear in the official declarations from the hearing officer. I saw this while digging through the Aug. 29 OESC packet. One of the included documents appeared to derive from the July 7*, 2016, conversation with a male OESC employee. At first, I thought it might be a transcript.
This three-page item is named "Oklahoma Employment Security Commission - Discharge/Temporary Agency - rc1519." Text in all caps is that way on the OESC form, and apparently is to represent the man I telephoned to check my UI status. Text in italic was on the form and under the all-caps heading, and apparently is supposed to represent what I said in response. Anything in parenthesis was not on the form and is my comment. Some of my comments are in inline freestanding paragraphs. Images are scanned directly from the OESC packet, or from phone records from my service provider:
WHAT DATE DID YOU CONTACT THE TEMPORARY AGENCY FOR RE-ASSIGNMENT?
(No. I sent an email on June 9, 2016, asking for a job assignment within my skill set as originally agreed.)
WHO DID YOU SPEAK WITH?
B.M. [real name removed]
(Not sure why B.M.'s name would have come up. I did not call her in this time frame, but she called me the morning of June 9 to demand the name of a CapitalOne manager who once briefly spoke to me at a meeting about CapitalOne's relationship with temp agencies. B.M. was a liaison between AppleOne and the client. Temps dropped off their time sheets at her cubicle, and she occasionally circulated emails about changes in rules or procedures. She did not appear to be involved in what Mason and AppleOne's management were doing.)
JOB TITLE OF THIS INDIVIDUAL?
WHAT WERE YOU TOLD?
She did an exit interview
(No one at AppleOne or any other company at this time ever did an
exit interview with me, or anything similar. This
exit interview topic never came up during my interactions with AppleOne.)
IS THE DATE OF CONTACT IN KEEPING WITH THE HIRING AGREEMENT?
(Not sure what
date of contact means. Plus, no part of this question ever came up during any of my communication with AppleOne or anyone else I had contact with during this time frame. This 'Yes' is actually a radio button like you might see on a web page:)
WHAT IS THE POLICY ACCORDING TO YOUR HIRING AGREEMENT WHEN AN ASSIGNMENT ENDS?
Contact in a timely manner
(Also did not come up at any time in my contact with AppleOne. In fact, the phrase looks like jargon that a recruiter might use in internal documents or reports. Strange... )
IS THE TEMPORARY AGENCY ATTEMPTING TO REFER YOU ON ASSIGNMENTS?
I think so
(No; they mocked me when I asked for a normal business relationship. And that was the last I heard from them. This supposed OESC question is inserted in the area for my replies, then restated normally below.)
I contacted AppleOne again on 061616 about keeping on at AppleOne, I spoke to someone named Karen who said there wasn't anything available right now."
(I never met a
Karen at AppleOne or the client site. If the person who typed this means Taryn Mason, the last time I heard her voice was when I showed up at AppleOne's offices on March 17, 2016, believing I was there for an
Owasso tech job.)
- 8:03 a.m.; 7 minutes; to the OESC in Oklahoma City (not AppleOne).
- 10:11 a.m. 10 minutes; incoming from a family member (not AppleOne).
- 3:35 p.m.; 2 minutes; to customer service at credit union (not AppleOne).
- 4:33 p.m.; 4 minutes; tech support for antivirus software (not AppleOne).
DID YOU FOLLOW THE POLICY?
Yes (radio button)
IS THE TEMPORARY AGENCY ATTEMPTING TO REFER YOU ON ASSIGNMENT?
Yes (radio button)
(No. I asked them for a normal relationship and they mocked me on their own letterhead.)
First, this contains none of the things he and I did talk about. Every detail of the phone call has been replaced by an imaginary question-and-answer session hosted by OESC. The physical copy of this includes a small box containing the date June 21, 2016. My phone records for that date show a standard call-in (800-555-1554) where I interacted with the OESC auto-attendant, not a real person. Whereas, the entire 101-page case packet from OESC omits the July 7* phone call where TALX was first mentioned by an OESC rep. This is one of the most important documents provided through my information request.
Compared to the hearing officer's maneuvers, this is clumsy; all of the documentation negates it. On the other hand, it is brazen. Last but not least, placing a forged document in the official record is seriously illegal. DOWNLOAD forgery (hi-resolution version below)
If anyone who reads this knows the name of the male OESC employee I spoke with that day, please provide that name to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, to whom I have submitted this report (listed below).
[* I spent a lot of time trying to secure the official record of my July 2016 conversation with the male OESC employee. Bear in mind, the agency logs all public contact on their computer system. They also keep records of who is employed there during certain time spans. And, their phone system automatically logs calls by date, time, and phone number. I made an official request on June 15, 2019, for the record. The email response arrived Sept. 16, 2019. Excerpt:
Since the Skyline office does not exist anymore and the telephone system used by that office has been replaced, there is no way to determine the number of the telephone extension you were using to make the call. I invite anyone reading this to do the math. The OESC Skyline office in Tulsa was a busy place. They maintained an extension for the use of anyone doing a job search. Job seekers could call potential employers or call people for training, career networking, etc. Let's assume the phone was only made available to 10 people per day, and that each person only made one outbound call, and let's assume there are about 260 working days in a year. That's 2,600 calls in a single year. There were plenty of opportunities to match me to the one OESC I dealt with during this episode who was honest. ]
There are several possible avenues by which the original July 7*, 2016, call record was replaced:
- The male OESC employee decided of his own accord to re-write the record. But, what were his guidelines to do so, and who is this intended to benefit?
- An OESC manager directed the record to be replaced with the altered version. Same question: using OESC guidelines? To what end?
- Someone from TALX asked that the record be replaced with the fake version?
- An AppleOne representative asked that the fake version be installed?
- Someone from TALX was given physical access and altered the record?
- Someone from AppleOne was given physical access and altered the record?
Other than the fact that this is consistent with other actions by AppleOne/TALX/OESC, it is not really clear to me how this item works in their overall strategy. The only people who know the answer—and are easily accessible to law enforcement—are within the OESC.
This was clearly coordinated between AppleOne, TALX and the OESC. It took systematic and consistent effort for all of this to be effective. AppleOne's regional and local management had to approve procedures and expense reports to allow this to happen. Think about that, and the likelihood that many job seekers have been targeted in the same way. These organizations would have had no reason to behave this way toward one and only one person. Also note that the OESC hearing officer is a practicing attorney who knows exactly what qualifies as fraud. No experienced attorney could look at how I was tricked into signing up with AppleOne and not see the criminality in that. Just after resigning, I pointed out to AppleOne that they had set up a
power relationship with me in which they held all the power. Here is evidence.
Closing or concealing?
From 2018 to 2019, I began distributing an evidence packet to law enforcement in California (where AppleOne is headquartered) and Oklahoma. This may have come to the attention of the rich kids who manage AppleOne. In early October of 2019, I got word that the Tulsa AppleOne office that allegedly ran the
Owasso tech job scam may have been shut down. Remember, this is a profitable operation, reportedly making as much as $400,000 yearly with about six employees. If it has in fact been closed, why? Could corporate records be destroyed as part of the alleged closing? Evidence?
Photo from AppleOne Tulsa location:
In multiple ways, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has endorsed the
Owasso Tech Job scam:
- By forwarding the myth that the fraudulent job offer from AppleOne does not exist ( PDF | Image ),
- By rewarding at least one hearing officer for violating OESC procedures as part of an effort to intimidate technology workers,
- By remaining silent about the forged
rc1519document ( PDF ),
- And by hindering my efforts to contact the state employee who helped me realize I had been scammed by secretive individuals at AppleOne and TALX.
And all of this because I trusted AppleOne when they called on March 16, 2016, and offered me an
Owasso tech job.
FINAL - FINAL
Years before, I had one previous experience with a temp agency. They were called ADIA. They arranged three temp jobs in alignment with my skills, each went smoothly, and one of those—at Sprint—turned into full-time. No drama. See? It's not so difficult to run your business in an ethical manner.
Identification: Persons in this article are identified here via three methods:
- Official government documents from the OESC.
- My testimony and documentation to which none of the other parties has thus far objected.
- Items published on the internet, presumably by the persons themselves or their agents.
- The author of this article has vetted this article by an attorney to comply with applicable laws.
Non-disclosure language in emails
Some of the original emails may contain confidentiality or non-disclosure language. The law is clear that such language cannot be used to conceal illegal activity.
Information pertaining to the scope (number of known victims) of this issue is not included in this public narrative and is only in the version submitted to law enforcement.
I have tried to rely on official or reliable sources. Obviously, there are places in this narrative where I expressed a response to the content of those sources.
Full internet headers; for technicians who want to do an analysis:
Original email and mocking response from AppleOne (PDF)
rc1519 document inserted into official record:
Download hi-res PDF (11MB)
OESC official statement on appeal hearings and decisions: New tab to OESC website and also inside the following item ...
OESC official statement on unemployment insurance claim statistics (by the way, this page also describes the OESC policy regarding witnesses at hearings): New tab to OESC website
Law enforcement in receipt of this information
• Tulsa County District Attorney
Michael Shouse, assistant DA
Tulsa County Courthouse
500 South Denver Avenue, Suite 900
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103
Link (new tab/window)
• Oklahoma Attorney General
313 NE 21st Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Link (new tab/window)
• Los Angeles County District Attorney
600 E Broadway #280
Glendale, CA 91206
Link (new tab/window)
Two PDF files: U.S. government vs. TALX
Web page: U.S. government vs. TALX
...an SEC investigation resulting in a fine of $2,500,000 (simultaneous civil action) and
an investigation by the New York Times titled "Contesting unemployment claims big business"
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
A recent New York Times article describes TALX as undermining the crucial safety net that unemployment benefits represent for the millions of unemployed workers because of the aggressive and questionable tactics it uses on behalf of employers to fight unemployment benefit claims. TALX reportedly handles more than 30 percent of the nation’s requests for unemployment benefits. CREW seeks to learn the extent to which the Labor Department is aware of TALX's actions and has taken any action in response.