SCREENSHOT VIA KMOV
Dorneshia Zachery received a rejection letter citing her "ghetto name."
, after multiple job applicants seeking positions at a Chesterfield testosterone clinic got rejection letters citing their "ghetto names," the business owner maintained that, in fact, a former employee had maliciously used the company's Indeed.com profile to send out the racist messages.
Now, that claim has been confirmed. Earlier today, St. Louis resident Christopher Crivolio pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of identity theft for his role in creating the racist hoax.
In a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Crivolio, 47, is described as admitting to sending "unauthorized emails purporting to be from an employee of Mantality Health" without the knowledge of the company.
As Riverfront Times first reported
in August 2018, the emails arrived in the inboxes multiple applicants, among them black women who said they felt hurt by the email's implication that their names made them unemployable.
The rejection emails read: "Thank you for your interest in careers at Mantality Health. Unfortunately we do not consider candidates that have suggestive 'ghetto' names. We wish the best in your career search."
One applicant, St. Louis County resident Dorneshia Zachery, later told KMOV (Channel 4)
that getting the email made her feel like "The company looked at my name and said we don't care about what you've done in life."
Screenshots of the emails posted to Facebook quickly spread on social media, and the story was heavily covered by local news outlets, and made national news in tabloids like the New York Post
. At the time, Mantality owner Kevin Meuret told RFT
that the emails were created by "potentially an ex-employee."
But it wasn't just the text of the email itself that troubled Meuret: The rejection messages were signed with the name and contact info of a different employee, a nurse practitioner. This added deception amounted to identity theft — and according to prosecutors, it led to harassing social media messages and phone calls targeting the employee who had been framed as the author of the racist rejection messages.
"At no point in time had the employee, or anyone at Mantality Health, authorized Crivolio to use the employee’s identity or to send the communications purporting to be on behalf of Mantality Health," the press release says.
The case was investigated by the St. Louis office of the FBI. In a statement, Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn noted that Crivolio set out to do more than target his former coworker.
"In this case," Quinn said Crivolio intended "to destroy the company’s reputation."
At the very least, Crivolio may have done enough to get the company sued
. Earlier this month, Dorneshia Zachery, who had received one of the messages, filed a lawsuit against Mantality alleging race discrimination. It's unclear how that suit will be affected by Crivolio's guilty plea.
In any case, Crivolio now faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for November 7.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com
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