Background Checks

There was a very interesting article in the online version of the Indianapolis Business Journal which should prove to every employer that things are not always as they seem.  This is from the October 15th edition of the online version of the IBJ.

Here’s the first line from the piece: “The CEO of Indianapolis-based Stonegate Mortgage Corp., one of the nation’s fastest-growing publicly traded mortgage companies, did not earn a degree from Indiana University as his company profile claims.”

The story goes on to report, “James J. Cutillo’s executive biography on the Stonegate website says he “holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.”  However, later, “An IU spokesman who researched the matter at IBJ’s request said Cutillo does not hold an IU degree.  The school said he attended IU through the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis from the fall of 1989 to the spring of 1992 but was never conferred a degree.”

It seems that “Cutillo took the company public last year [2013] on the New York Stock Exchange with a $114 million initial public offering.”

The problem here, of course, is that Cutillo started the company along with his wife, so he wasn’t “hired” by anyone and the deception may be nothing more that resume inflation, but it’s still a deception that should never have occurred.  Without the deception, however, one can only be left to wonder if Cutillo could have built his company into “one of the nation’s fastest-growing publicly traded mortgage companies.”

The deception also raises understandable doubts about other possible exaggerations the company founder may have made along the way.  While some may try to minimize what could be called a “minor” deception, a lie is still a lie; and Cutillo had to know the claim of earning an IU degree was false.

The lesson to be learned is that very little should ever be taken for granted when contemplating entering into any type of business dealings with another person.  It’s always better to check and be sure that all the information someone claims about himself is true.  It’s difficult to say what, if any, the ramifications of this incident will be.  One thing is certain, however, it’s better to check and be sure than to assume and be sorry – particularly when it’s so quick and easy for professionals to verify information like the accuracy of a degree claimed!