Thank you in advance for reading my story. If for nothing else, take my story as a lesson of when to trust your intuition.
I am a wife, and mother of 8. My family means everything to me. Through the course of my life 3 things have been my constant purpose. My loving husband who supports me and everything I dream of, my amazing kids who reciprocate my love for them in everyway they know how, (well, except for cleaning, they don't like doing that), and my career, for without it, I couldn't provide the life I share with our beautiful blended family!
I have invested a lot into my career, time away from home, hard work and long hours, and a sincere care and concern for the clients I meet and work with. I have been rewarded for my investment for the most part. Co-workers have become friends, leadership has turned into mentors, and I have learned and experienced so much, received awards and advanced my career through loyalty and dedication to those I've worked for. I was blessed with the confidence of job security for the majority of my professional development, but now that is out the window and I need a helping hand.
Like the rest of the world, with Covid-19 and the rapid shutdowns across the globe, my career at the time was in Event Services handling large Corporate Meetings and Weddings, I knew it would be a long time before I was back to status quo. Like most people I know, the Company I worked for was forced to make decisions resulting in me being furloughed until further notice. I was lucky enough to keep afloat with a small savings and the unemployment benefit but even those small weekly payments depleted quicker than I could have imagined. After several attempts at finding another opportunity I finally found one. It was August of 2020 when I found an ad for Executive Vice President of Horrorfied Corporation, I applied, then interviewed with the owner Sean McCarthy. He explained that he was building a Horror-themed Event Production company, even said the Company donated some of the profits to different charities but he needed help in developing the Company's Structure, the brand and marketing, and the year round events he had in mind. Through the interview I explained that after high school I joined the US Army, and learned about Communications and Computer Administration, then began a career in Marketing and Advertising and finally moved into planning and managing events for major event venues. So I felt like the perfect match for this Company and I could successfully build and market his Horror Events Company. I felt strongly that I would be an asset to his company, and the offer for employment gave me relief in knowing I could comfortably provide for my adoring family. As a bonus, I would be working remotely so I could still help my children while they are going to school online due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
I settled in rather quickly, and developed his company from the ground up. I created the onboarding process and documents, Policies and Procedures, placed protection for the Company assets with a Non-Disclosure and Liability Releases, setup a ticketing system for the events, established the Covid-19 protection policies to protect our future employees and guests, built a professional web presence, and designed promotional ads so in the next couple of months as Halloween approaches we would be in great shape to start making money and growing this business.
I started working on August 17, 2020, according to Sean McCarthy, Owner of Horrorfied Corporation. I was to receive my first paycheck on August 28th, 2020 (which happens to be my birthday) for 1 week of work and then regular paychecks would continue every other Friday. Sean said payment would be received by direct deposit, however since he was still setting that all up I would receive a paper check for the first week. On August 28th, I didn't receive a paycheck, but considering everything, I assumed it would just be a few days. On August 30th, I informed the owner that I didn't receive a paycheck and needed to confirm what address he sent it to. He said he would look into what happened and get it resolved. On September 4th, still not paid, I asked him if he could send at least some of the money through PayPal or CashApp so I could pay for some home essentials. He did send $500 through CashApp but we agreed to an annual salary of $50,000 so it wasn't a full paycheck. I worked another two weeks, and the next scheduled payday was September 11th. I sent a request through PayPal for the remaining balance of my first weeks check and the 2 weeks that were due and he promptly sent $2500 to my account, however I was responsible to pay the $78.80 in transfer fees to PayPal. Ok, not too be of a deal, all things considered. So I continue working, now interviewing, and hiring new department leads as we are working on our Premier Halloween Event. Due to the massive unemployment rate, we had the opportunity to hire some amazingly talented team members and we did, the crème de la crème, of event professionals that were out of work. With the owner's approval we hired Barbi Miller, an incredibly talented Costume and Wardrobe Designer and Eric Walters an experienced Production Manager who is well known in our area and well-versed in the Horror genre. I was in charge of managing all departments and felt that I had the opportunity to build the most talented Horror Production Professionals and that's what I did! I explained the company policies, and monitored project production and started pulling together all the great ideas from the team and Sean seemed really pleased with all the work we were doing.
September 25 was our next pay date and now we had more employees so I was a little concerned about everyone getting paid since direct deposit was still not yet set up. The 25th came and went and none of us were paid. We all had access to use Zelle Bank transfers and felt it was a safe and free way to transfer money quickly. Sean told us he didn't know what it was and couldn't figure out how to use it but he would try. It wasn't until September 30th that I finally received pay for the previous pay period and again through PayPal so I was again responsible for paying the fees and I assumed the rest of the team was paid as well. We continued working great as a team for the next 2 weeks finalizing the premier event for Halloween starting the 2nd weekend of October. I sold tickets and registered attendees, promoted the event everywhere I could, Barbi Miller was ready to get started on Wardrobe and Props and Eric Walters was scheduled to start building the sets. Everything looked to be on track to great results. The final week we all worked for Horrorfied Corporation was the week that ended on the 9th, when we once again, didn't get a paycheck from our employer. This is when it all started to fall apart. Sean fired Eric for needing an hour or so of personal time off so he could pick Barbi up from the hospital, Barbi wasn't able to return to work after the hospital due to Sean not accepting her Doctor's note, and most importantly, none of us were getting paid. When we reached out to Sean for answers we were usually met with silence. Not answering calls, texts, or emails.
On Sunday the 11th, I informed Sean I hadn't received a deposit and he replied, Sean finally responded with "I'm sending it now", and then said, "Your pay has been sent via Zelle" but I never received it. Over the next few days he continued to lie and deceive all of his employees who were waiting to be paid, saying he sent it but it didn't go through yet, that he sent it another way and that he mailed our checks but wouldn't or couldn't provide a tracking number for his overnight mail. He said his accounts had been frozen due to identity theft, he had unexpected medical bills, and any other excuse not to pay us, but the worst was being told he is sending it now, just to get nothing from him and ignored.
To make matters worse, on October 13th I received a notification from PayPal saying that the paycheck that was sent to me on September 11th had been charged back by Sean McCarthy and I was now negative -$2520 and needed to deposit the money back to PayPal. At this point I knew I had been duped. Sean McCarthy talks a good talk, plays on your sympathy, and blatantly lies to get great work done for his company by hard working honest professionals. In all, I am owed $5,520 to be whole again and as I am sure most of you that are reading this are aware it isn't easy to find work right now, and even harder when your monthly expenses require a minimum of $40,000 per year. In addition to my pay, Eric Walters is waiting to receive $408.75, and Barbi Miller is waiting to receive $855.00 all for hours worked for Horrorfied Corporation. There are 2 other employees also owed pay for the work they did for Horrorfied, but asked that I don't provide their names here and I am respecting those wishes, but they shared with me that they too are owed money and charge backs were made on their pay as well.
Under normal circumstance, I wouldn't be here asking for help. I've tried handling this on my own and have had enough "we can't help you"s for a lifetime. I searched the Department of Labor and Wage for guidance, contacted an employment attorney who said my case is too small for their firm and referred me to deal directly with the Department of Labor, the Department of Labor transferred me to the Local Orlando office who told me they are federal and I need to deal with the State Department of Labor, which Florida doesn't have so they directed me to Florida Unemployment Office, who basically said, why are you calling us? I contacted a smaller firm but they need money up front for my case and I don't have it. PayPal Collection Department called me to settle the -$2520 debt but I don't have it, nor am I employed anymore, since I was called back from furlough a couple of weeks after hired by Horrorfied but because I had just made a commitment I didn't feel right saying I would go back to work and leave my new Employer just as we were getting things together for the business (a decision I have come to regret).
Here are the goals I have set for this campaign:
Since I was acting as the face of Horrorfied when I interviewed and hired these employees, I would like to pay them what they are owed for the work I asked for them to do! They did outstanding work for that company and got only excuses for not paying them in return.
I am hoping to settle my account with PayPal so I can then cancel my account. I am extremely disappointed with the way they handled my account, my dispute of the chargeback, and the lack of professionalism when they called me to collect. However, my working for a Horror-able Company isn't PayPal's fault so I'd like to make them whole again as well!
I'd like to take care of my household bills that have piled up due to not receiving any pay for a while now or at least get a good chunk taken care of.
If anyone who reads this is an attorney that would like to help with this problem with legal action, I would love to have Horrorfied Corporation take care of this problem more so than by the kindness of others. However, I can only cover the legal fees if I meet my goals here. He has now filed bankruptsy so it may not be worth your time.
I'd also like to use my experience in Marketing to advertise and promote to the world that this man is not a man of his word at all. That he is not to be trusted by anyone. Do not work for his company or at least if you decide to work for him get paid in advance with a money order or a source that he won't be able to cancel the charges.
Lastly, if we can meet our goals here, I'd like to continue on my path to start my own business. Since October 15th when all of this happened, I couldn't help but be disappointed knowing that this guy gets to get away with doing this to really good people, hard workers that are just trying to support their families in uncertain times of this pandemic. He walks away with a well developed business structure, designed by a creative development team, he didn't contribute much at all, and he gets it all for free. So, I came up with the idea of a company specifically for new business owners, to consult and train in all aspects of running a small business. With my experience and knowledge of developing and promoting businesses, I'd like to help new Entrepreneurs develop their own ideas into a business with the right policies and procedures, best practices in Customer Service, Operations, Marketing and Sales, and provide a scalable growth strategy to move beyond the infamous 5 year mark when things are toughest on new businesses. I have a passion for, and a proven track record of success in business that I would like to share with the businesses of tomorrow.
I will appreciate anything you can do to help, but if your floating in a boat similar to mine, all I ask is please repost-or share this to pass along, we need your help in the worst way! Help me pay these employees this company and dishonest business owner most likely never will. Again, thank you in advance for anything you can do, and thank you for reading my story! Stay healthy - Stay Happy - I wish you all the very best!
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