One local company runs ads for jobs that it says will let you defend your country -- and make big bucks doing it.
That's what it claims.
But consumer investigator Jennifer Kraus found big problems with the ads and the man behind them.
Hit TV shows like 'The Unit' make counterterrorism and homeland security work look dangerous and exciting.
"You see that and you want to get all pumped up and say, 'I want to go do this,'" says Carl Wild.
So when Wild and two of his National Guard buddies from Texas saw a help-wanted ad in their local paper that read, "Be willing to commit to three 90-day tours overseas -- $168,000 to $220,000 a year," they thought it was their dream job come true.
Wild's understanding of the ad was, "We'll give you a job and you're going to get paid a lot of money to do this for us."
But what Wild and his friends didn't know was what we uncovered about the company running the ads and its owner who told us to leave his property when we went to the business office.
And they had no idea that the Better Business Bureau had found problems with the ads too.
The BBB's Kathleen Calligan says, "It's outrageous," but true that despite what the ads lead you to believe, the company doesn't really hire anyone.
"They're targeting very highly skilled, trained, professional soldiers, police officers, that caliber of individual," Calligan says.
The company known as both International Executive Services and Advancement Solutions runs these same "now hiring" ads in newspapers around the country and all over the internet.
But when you go to the company's website, you find that if you want one of these advertised jobs, you first have to sign up for training through the company -- specialized classes that International Executive Services leads you to believe it offers.
"That's the bait," Calligan tells Jennifer Kraus.
"There are no classes?" Kraus asks.
"No, that's the bait. There are no classes."
Matt Buglehall, another of the Texas National Guardsmen who was excited by what the ad offered says, "There's no telling how many people have been taken by this company."
Buglehall, along with Wild and their friend Chris Gillespie, all paid International Executive Services nearly $300 a piece.
Buglehall now admits, "Man, I should have known."
And he says he was so convinced by what the company told him and his friends that he quit his job with the police department, only to get the run-around from the company when he tried to find out when their class would begin.
Chris Gillespie, another of the Guardsmen. says that "they told us everything we wanted to hear until they got the money. And once they got the money, they wouldn't call us back.
We found another man who also paid International Executive Services, Chris Dyer in Murfreesboro.
We asked Dyer, "Did you get a class?"
Dyer said, "No."
We then asked, "What did you get?"
Dyer says, "Nothing. I got ripped off."
Dyer tells NewsChannel 5 he signed up for International Executive Service's bodyguard program after he says the company told him once he finished his training, he'd be guarding movie stars, country singers and athletes just like you see in movies like, "The Bodyguard."
"They promised you a job after you finished school. It's all in the paperwork they send you," Dyer says.
The BBB's Kathleen Calligan says, "They're very skilled at stringing these people along."
We also discovered that the address International Executive Services gives on its website as its location is nothing more than a mailbox rental business where the company gets its mail.
We finally did track down International Executive Services to a rather non-descript building in Antioch.
But we found company owner Ricky Coleman wouldn't talk with us about his company or his own checkered past.
When Kraus introduced herself to Coleman, he immediately told her, "You can leave now."
"Why won't you talk to us?" Kraus asked.
"I have no comment."
Then he slammed the door shut.
Our investigation found Coleman has a lengthy arrest record that includes at least five occasions where he was accused of posing as a police officer.
We discovered he was convicted of criminal impersonation in Georgia and spent a year in prison there.
We also found he's spent time behind bars for credit card fraud, multiple DUIs, and at least three different weapons charges.
Kraus tried to talk to Coleman through his closed office door after he slammed it.
"You say you're running a legitimate business. So, why don't you want to talk about it?" she asked.
Coleman's response: "Cause I'm camera shy."
Coleman insists his company never promises anyone a job.
We mentioned that to Chris Dyer who says he thought he was paying for a guaranteed job and he told us, "That's a lie. They do. They tell you that on the phone. Yes, they do."
And we even found in the front windshield of Coleman's own car a large "now hiring" ad that talks about the jobs and pay that are offered.
It's the same kind of ad that hooked the three National Guardsmen from Texas who now fear watching shows like "The Unit" may be the closest they'll ever get to this kind of work.
Carl Wild says, "It was a huge scam and we got taken for a ride."
Ricky Coleman tells me his company gets more than 5,000 calls a month, which means nearly 60,000 jobs a year.
NewsChannel 5 asked him for the names of at least a couple of people who have gotten jobs through his company. And, we're still waiting.
Now there are schools out there that do offer training. But they don't guarantee jobs or make any of the other promises that International Executive Services does.
And we couldn't find any of these schools that work with Ricky Coleman and his company.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:04 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:04:23 GMT
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