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FALSE AD VICTIMIZES UNEMPLOYED IN WNY APPLICANTS TOLD TO PAY FEE IN FRAUD

Answering a help wanted ad resulted in several unemployed Western New Yorkers shelling out precious dollars and getting nothing in return.

The man who placed the ad asked applicants for $35 to cover the cost of a driver's license check and a urine test. He told them the companies he was representing wanted this information before they would agree to interviews, police said.

But when the time for the interviews finally arrived, just days ago, the applicants discovered the door of the small office on Southwestern Boulevard locked.

Searching the area, police discovered several of the applications along with resumes in trash barrels.

Police then arrested William L. Schmidt, 29, of 409 Lakeview Ave., Jamestown, and charged him with first degree fraud.

"He was running a job placement agency in our town and promising jobs that apparently didn't exist and for a company that never heard of him," Orchard Park Police Lt. Robert E. Ziehm said Friday.

Ziehm said Schmidt's ad was offering sales jobs with an over-the-counter pharmaceutical company and a chemical company -- neither identified -- and for the American Beverage Company of Overland, Kan.

A spokesman for American Beverage told the lieutenant "he was never our representative."

The jobs, which required a four-year college degree, promised a salary, car and benefits.

"There is no doubt in my mind that he wasn't representing any companies but maybe he thought that once he had some applicants, he could get some companies to consider interviewing them," Ziehm said.

Schmidt did return the $35 fee to some of the applicants and promised to return the fee to everyone who applied, Ziehm said.

Any applicant who has not had their money returned is asked to contact Ziehm at the Orchard Park Police Department.

Meanwhile, Schmidt, who is free on $250 bail pending a Tuesday hearing, is also facing bad check charges in the Town of Lakewood.

A police officer there who read the arrest story in the Jamestown newspaper remembered an outstanding bench warrant for some bad checks passed in 1990.

Schmidt could not be reached to comment.

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