LAKE GEORGE - Dozens of foreign students have been arriving this past week in Lake George expecting to have a job and housing only to find out they are victims of a scam operated by a fellow student, according to police and local government officials.
Almost daily foreign students - a major element of the village workforce - are arriving by bus and being left stranded at the station without a job or any accommodations, Blais said this week.
Members of the village-sponsored Student Connection have been inundated with calls, Blais said, from students departing the bus and not having any idea where to turn for assistance.
Mayor Blais said he has traced a majority of the problems to an unscrupulous foreign female student who has booked many others to come to Lake George without securing them a job or accommodations. In one instance a local business owner noted this student's signature on more than 20 job offers on a form obtained over the Internet, Blais said. Another local motel owner gave a monetary deposit to a foreign student who said he represents "Student Connection."
The town and village of Lake George support the Student Connection to coordinate employment and housing for the many students that arrive annually.
Warren County Sheriff's office Lt. Shawn Lamouree confirmed that evidence indicates a scam in taking place.
"This is currently an open and ongoing investigation," he said, noting that the incident is being handled by his agency's criminal investigations unit.
Apprehending the criminals may be a problem, however.
Lamouree said that investigators believe the crime may have occurred over the Internet outside the department's jurisdiction, perhaps in Eastern Europe.
Ordinarily, the foreign students coming to Lake George for summer jobs are met at the bus by the employers and taken to their worksite and accommodations. Otherwise, they are left standing on Canada Street with no knowledge where to go for assistance.
The village Peace Officers are making attempts to meet the incoming buses to assist these "lost" students, he said.
Fortunately, the mayor reported, some local citizens have taken in the students and provided temporary housing until they find employment.