Response to Fraudulent Claims: An American transalation agency – Workforce Language Services

Response to Fraudulent Claims: An American transalation agency – Workforce Language Services

Sometimes a small business owner gets to enjoy a relaxing Saturday morning. And sometimes she doesn’t. This, unfortunately, is the latter kind of morning.

For the last six years, Workforce Language Services has provided translation services in over 50 languages for clients of all sizes and industries. We pride ourselves on our quality services and the trust our clients place in us. But we also pride ourselves on the relationships we foster with our translators across the world. Since 2006, 83 translators we’ve worked with have left feedback on our profile on proz.com – all 5 out of 5 based on our excellent communication and speedy payment.

We recently completed a large multilingual translation project involving 50 translators. Unfortunately, we were made aware that one of the translators we hired to proofread a small Korean portion of the project has been in the scamming business for years now in Tianjin China. Here’s how it works:

  • He presents himself as a qualified translator/proofreader in response to a project bid and is hired by the client (in this case, my company).
  • He then falsely presents himself as a project manager for a legitimate translation agency (using a fake email address) and hires translators to complete the work.
  • He delivers the translation (or in this case, the proofread files), his client pays him, and he keeps the money – never paying the translators he hired.
  • When his translators contact the translation agency they think they’re working for regarding compensation, the agency, rightfully so, denies knowing anything about the project, and the translator is out hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Click here for just one example of this clever (and unfortunately successful) scam, but rest assured that there are many, many more that he can take credit for – all under various aliases and companies that have since been banned for proz.com and other translation community sites.

We initiated a wire transfer to his bank in China before we understood the extent of his fraud, but his bank returned the funds to us due to other suspicious activity associated with his account. Now, given that the translators that actually proofread the documents have come forward, we’ve decided to pay them directly rather than reward this man for his deceit. Last week he sent a list of the many ways he would smear my company and coworkers online if we didn’t pay him, and to further intimidate us even included our photos from our linkedin profiles. As of last night, his smear campaign has begun. At the time of this post, he has sent an email with the subject “An American transalation (sic) agency “Workforce Language Services” is a cheating company” to some 60 translation agencies, in which he attempts to gain sympathy by referencing his tireless efforts to provide for his young motherless daughter and aging parents.

He has said that he will stop smearing me if we pay him:

I worked for WLS and WLS should pay me! If they don’t pay me, I will ruin their business. If they pay me, I will stop, it is simply.

Not surprisingly, as of today, his company’s website has disappeared, but thankfully, we have domain registry records. We have hired a lawyer, and in an effort to protect/defend our reputation – as well as to protect others from falling for this scam – I wanted to share this information. I hope that the feedback from 83 independent translators will speak more loudly than the lies of one man, and I apologize for anyone that has to waste another minute or dollar in the face of such unethical actions.

-Jill K. Bishop, PhD – Founder & President of Workforce Language Services

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UPDATE 1/31/11

The scam artist claims to have sent the email to some 500 American translation agencies, as well as my former employers (he cc’d us on many of them – but we’ve lost count). He blasted all of our company email addresses with multiple 9MB attachments to clog up our server. He claims to have contacted our client and has stated that he will continue sharing our contact information, as well as our personal photos, with more companies. He closed his final email to our lawyer with the following words:

Finally, If Jill has parents, I hope they have cancer soon. If Jill has a husband, I hope he has cancer soon. If Jill has a child, I hope the child has cancer soon.

We are in contact with the proofreaders who worked on this project, and we will be processing payment to them this week.

If anyone has questions about this, please feel free to contact me directly: jill(at)workforcelang.com.

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UPDATE 2/5/11

He’s sending fewer emails than before but still sending them – now to universities my project managers and I attended and special interest groups we are associated with – with subjects like “Please note Jill Kushner Bishop, PhD from Workforce Language Services is a Scam Artist” or comments about a project manager including “please keep away from the cheating bitch”. And always closing with his night and day struggle to feed his family (recall his multiple cancer wishes for mine)…

In a further breach of ethics, he’s begun sending emails around, purportedly to other healthcare companies, with the subject “Free Healthcare educational materials”. He writes:

After discussed with our lawyer, we decided to distribute the materials to Internet and send the materials to other companies, you can use it freely for any purposes :-)

I’ve now spent just about as much in legal fees as I would have had I decided to pay him, not to mention significant lost productivity, and we will also be paying the two editors that completed the work. I still stand by my decision to withhold payment to him and not reward him for his continued scam and complete lack of ethics, and I am continuing to share information regarding his background and the way he works to help prevent agencies and freelancers from falling into his trap.

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