Brittney Cason from Charlotte, North Carolina, was approached by a talent agent hiring U.S. reporters to cover the Winter Olympics last September.
Writing on xojane.com, she explained how she became suspicious when – after a lengthy application process – the ‘agent’ asked her if she had any ‘girlfriends’ she could take with her, offering them visas with no interview process, eventually prompting action from the FBI.
Ms Cason was contacted in September 2013 via her website by a man claiming to be a talent acquisition agent.
‘Given my background in sports broadcasting… and working on sports talk radio, it made sense he was recruiting me,’ she wrote.
Ms Cason was asked to submit examples of her work, and audition several times, before she was told that she had got the job with the network as a host and beat reporter for the games.
In addition to Ms Cason, she was told that another legitimate sportscaster in North Carolina was hired to work alongside her.
Her suspicions were raised two weeks before she was set to leave for Sochi, when the ‘talent agent’ said he needed to expand the coverage team and asked if she had any ‘girlfriends’ in the industry she could recommend.
His assistant, who was actually just him, sent her documents for her friend to get a work visa.
Ms Cason said: ‘I spent four months applying and interviewing and he’s sending my friend a work visa without even seeing her work?
‘Now, my friend is really talented, but wanting her passport and social security number before her reel (reporting and presenting clips) just seemed fishy to me.’
Ms Cason contacted the other sportscaster who was supposed to be going to Sochi with her and they investigated the talent agency further.