The first response to a facebook job posting was obviously too good to be true. Someone with a long history of accounting and bookkeeping applied. She loved dogs (we have 2-3 in the office daily) and wrote a very nice cover letter. No grammatical errors, covered our test questions (attention to detail is important) and the resume was a little long (3 pages) but all applicable.
But, since I’ve been burned by criminal con-artists before, I thought I’d do a quick search of criminal prosecutions in Montgomery County. For that, I headed over to the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts website- mistakenly called “Pro”- for “public records online” – but really should be named “AMATEUR” from the sites functionality and user interface.
The site is not mobile friendly, there are so many things about it that could be dramatically improved by using basic web interface design tools (color coding of filings in the docket would be a godsend- with plaintiff, defendant and court filings all coded with standard colors would make it much easier to find what you are looking for – as a start). But the biggest flaw is that none of these valuable public records are indexed by search engines- or linkable – ie- here’s her record.
I can tell you why this happened in Montgomery County long ago in Internet time. In the early days of search, if you searched for “Economy Linen Dayton” all that would come up were all the lawsuits they filed against former customers for non-payment. This was of great concern to the Feldman family- and they reached out to me on how they could fix their search results (my firm was an early pioneer in building websites and SEO and taught a class in how to use WordPress as a Google beater). Instead, since Deb Feldman was the county administrator, and her family owned Economy- they just forced the information to be hidden.
It also doesn’t help that Ohio insists on the idea of electing amateurs to jobs that should be performed by professionals- like County Clerk of Courts, Recorder, Auditor, Treasurer, local School Board Members- and even has a few jobs where you have to have actual certification to do the job like County Engineer or Coroner or, whelp, Judges (as if voters can tell a good judge from a bad one other that what the judge did to your cousin Billy Bob).
All the above to get to this- Miss Job applicant came up more than once. Four times to be exact. Once as a notary, twice as a debtor and once as a defendant, where on Monday, March 22, 2021 10:08:56 AM, in an TERMINATION ENTRY – COMMUNITY CONTROL- Judge Gerald Parker ordered her:
9. A requirement that the defendant not work in any capacity where she conducts financial transactions, handles cash, has access to employer/customer cash, checks, or credit information, or manages employer/customer finances;
Needless to say, I copied the judge on my response to her that I didn’t think it’d be a good fit at my office and maybe she should consider manual labor or dog walking. I also called the plaintiff who thanked me profusely. Hopefully, her next appearance online will be with equally crappy website run by the Sheriff that shows people in custody in the Montgomery County Jail.
In the meantime, to do a background check in Dayton Ohio, you are unfortunately challenged by the fact that we don’t have a statewide Clerk of Courts site with e-filing and unified search like the State of Wisconsin (see this post).
To do a background check effectively, you have to check ALL of the following sites:
Montgomery County PRO: https://pro.mcohio.org/pro/ Which covers felony cases.
There are 7 municipal courts to check:
Montgomery County muni-court: (another horrible website) http://www.mccountycourts.org/
with 2 different sub-sites: Eastern and Western– but, not to worry- they both use the same PRO system to keep cases- although you’d hardly know it. Note- both of them are not secure (website basics 101).
Then you have the step-children websites- very expensive and should be totally unnecessary: note- you should check both criminal and civil on each site.
- Dayton Municipal Court: https://clerkofcourt.daytonohio.gov/PA/CourtTypes.cfm
- Kettering Municipal Court: https://ketteringmunicipalcourt.com/
- Oakwood Municipal Court: https://court.oakwood.oh.us/recordSearch.php?k=searchForm5723
- Miamisburg Municipal Court: https://www.miamisburgcourts.com/
- Vandalia Municipal Court: https://docket.vandaliaohio.org/
Three bastard mayor’s courts (why these are allowed to exist is beyond comprehension)
- Moraine Mayors Court: http://web1.civicacmi.com/Moraine/Court/Default.aspx
- Phillipsburg Mayors Court: http://www.town-court.com/OH/montgomery-county/phillipsburg-mayors-court
- West Carrollton Mayors Court: https://www.westcarrollton.org/mayors-court/
They are nice enough to include the other courts- muni- on the same page:
- Xenia Municipal Court: https://eaccess.ci.xenia.oh.us/eservices/home.page.2
- Fairborn municipal court: (at first glance- I may not be able to find the actual public records on this badly designed site) https://www.fairbornmunicipalcourt.us/
You should also check Warren County and Springboro and Franklin:
Warren County Clerk of Courts: https://www.co.warren.oh.us/clerkofcourt/
- Franklin Municipal Court: https://eaccess.franklinohio.org/eservices/home.page.2
- Springboro Mayors Court: https://www.cityofspringboro.com/165/Mayors-Court
Miami County Clerk of Courts: https://www.co.miami.oh.us/117/Clerk-of-Courts
That is just the list of court sites the region pays for- to make life more difficult and expensive for all. This is one of the areas the region could be much more efficient and effective in spending your tax dollars. It’s one of the reasons I founded Reconstructing Dayton– to make everyone aware of how much public official incompetence costs us. This is no way to run government. We could have one statewide court docket management site to do all records for all courts- and besides saving money- make our lives much easier.
Other recommended steps: Check the person out on Social Media: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram – no guarantees that you’ll find what you want, but at least you may find out who they know that you know for personal references.
Calling personal connections is HIGHLY recommended- don’t just trust that because they are friends with a lot of people you are friends with on social media- doesn’t mean they all would vouch for them.
Calling former employers to confirm employment is the minimum. Asking for references is also advised.
Check actual educational qualifications. Universities will confirm a degree. I should have done this in my case.
Credit checks aren’t always legal- but can give you additional information. Typically, people with better credit are responsible.
You can pay for some information checking services- this is what private background check companies do, however, they probably don’t disclose which ones they use. I have a subscription to BeenVerified.com which isn’t supposed to be used for background checks (it’s interesting what the legal do’s and dont’s are) and as a test, it found some court cases that I wasn’t aware of- like domestic violence – yet it didn’t have the felonies for embezzlement (yet). These services are all owned by one group– and marketed under different names: BeenVerified.com, PeopleLooker.com, NumberGuru.com, NeighborWho.com, Ownerly.com, PeopleSmart.com and Bumper.com. You aren’t supposed to use these for background checks. I use it for finding people for interviews, finding classmates for our reunion committee and verifying online buyers for online sales to make sure that we’re not being scammed.
I always run a google search on the person. Some are absolutely worthless if their name is very common. But, it never hurts to look.
As a landlord, I’ve used background check services before and found them moderately useful, however, just adding that you will use one in your ad often scares away some.