Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Liar for Hire: for $54 Your Employees and Applicants Can Provide You With Any Excuse

Tim Green will tell anyone anything -- for a fee.

As the founder of Paladin Deception Services, he will say what clients want him to say to anyone calling on his dedicated phone lines.

He provides cover for cheating husbands, fake references for job-seekers and even "doctors" to confirm that someone needs a sick day.

He says he won't break the law -- in fact, that he has passed tips on to police. But he uses email and phones to twist, stomp and shred the truth for $54 a month.

"We all need a second chance," said Green, 59, who lives in Forest Lake and is a semi-retired private detective.

Some businesses and experts in ethics may say it's wrong to facilitate lying, in any form. Facebook apparently agrees -- the company booted Green's ads in May.

But Green pooh-poohs his critics.

"I believe that my moral compass is intact," he said. "We are not breaking any laws, and if we help people out, I feel like we are doing a positive service.

"I consider it disinformation. I consider it a business."

Since he started Paladin in 2009, he has had about 250 clients on a ongoing basis.

When potential clients call, Green connects them with one of his five employees.

He picks the one best-suited for the job -- male, female, or someone fluent in Spanish or Chinese. One employee is known for his ability to speak with a British accent or a Southern drawl.

Paladin provides a phone number with -- thanks to technical wizardry -- any area code in the country.

That would make it possible, for example, for a business in Atlanta to call a number with an Atlanta area code. Green's employees would answer, pretending to be an Atlanta-based business, doctor or whatever was required.

Included in the service is a bogus email address. Anyone seeking email verification will get a quick response from Paladin -- saying whatever the client wanted to say.

One deception, called a "scenario," costs $54. That includes callbacks if the person 

being duped calls repeatedly to recheck the facts.

The service, with the same scenario, can be maintained for an additional $19 a month. And a new line of deception can be added for another $19 a month....

Roughly 70 percent of Paladin's business comes from job-seekers.

If people have embarrassing gaps in their work histories, Paladin can fill them. When a prospective employer calls, Paladin's workers will confirm any details that the client wants -- high salary, years of service, job title....

Cheating spouses are regular customers.

"They just say, 'I need someone to say I was here at this time or that time,' " said Green. "I'm not responsible. I don't judge."

Other times, customers retain Paladin to avoid work. Green has posed as a funeral home manager, to verify that someone attended a funeral. "We will say that Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So passed away," he said....

Paladin's help for someone lying on a resume might fit the legal definition of fraud "if the deception is material and is reasonably relied on by the person who is deceived."...