A man accused of using bogus resumes to gain city management jobs in two states found a jail cell at the end of a tangled cross-country trail that included at least 22 jobs during the past eight years.
The job-hunting odyssey of Carl "Randy" T. Keyser Jr. apparently began in August 1980, when he was hired as a police officer in Cedar Grove, W.Va. - seven months after being charged with impersonating an officer in Midvale, Utah.The odyssey ended with his Dec. 20 arrest at his city administrator's office in Kake, Alaska, on a fugitive warrant stemming from his alleged use of a false resume to land the city manager's job in Pikeville briefly. A similar theft charge in Alaska has now been filed against him.
A check conducted by The Associated Press found that Keyser, 34, a native of Huntington, W.Va., apparently earned a living going from one small town to the next.
Officials in several communities, including a prosecutor in Florida, said Keyser apparently picked up as many pay and expense checks as he could before the jobs ended when his past finally caught up with him.
Interviews with prosecutors and city officials revealed that at least 19 of Keyser's jobs since 1980 have been with city or county governments. Documents and the interviews also showed that Keyser used false background information while obtaining at least 11 of those positions.
"We're very interested in seeing that this scam that he's been pulling everywhere comes to a stop," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Bartley in Pike County, where Keyser was indicted on a theft by deception charge in October stemming from his receipt of about $700 in city expense funds in August.
Bartley said he had not known the extent of Keyser's job history until last week, but wasn't surprised by the number of positions he had held.
"We suspected, just by the nature of what happened here and what happened in other places, that he had been around," Bartley said.
Resumes Keyser has submitted during the past eight years included listings of college degrees he never earned and impressive job titles he never held.
For example, Keyser has listed positions officials said he never held with national city managers' and police groups, the Los Angeles police and the West Virginia State Police. He also exaggerated his tenure and responsibilities on resume items about some jobs he really had held.
Until he went before a Florida judge in 1988, Keyser had managed to escape any criminal conviction in connection with his applications or on-the-job conduct. Many local officials said they declined to prosecute Keyser because of potential embarrassment and political fallout.
"We gave him a good reference so he would leave, just to pass the potato," said Mayor Charles A. Blair II of East Bank, W.Va. "Maybe that wasn't the attitude to take."
Blair said Keyser left there in 1983 when members of the city's governing board became alarmed that he was using high-handed police tactics that seemed out of proportion with minor offenses. The mayor said he was suspicious of Keyser, but never checked his background.
Even in Pikeville, where Keyser resigned after serving six days before his false resume was discovered in August, the city commission has voted not to pursue the charge against him. The commission had become the focus of local political jokes stemming from the Keyser episode.
Commonwealth's Attorney John Paul Runyon said he planned to continue pressing the charges anyway because the commission was not empowered to drop criminal cases.
Mark Ells, district attorney in Ketchikan, Alaska, said he and Runyon had not decided whether to return Keyser to Kentucky for trial before he goes to court on the Alaska charge.
Regardless of the decision, Ells said he would press his first-degree theft case against Keyser stemming from his alleged use of deception to obtain more than $28,000 in salary and expense money from the city of Kake.
Accused of impersonating officer
Here is an outline of Carl "Randy" T. Keyser Jr.'s job-hunting odyssey across the country during the past eight years, according to prosecutors, city officials and police files.
MIDVALE, January - Keyser charged with impersonating a police officer.
CEDAR GROVE, W.Va., Aug. 8 to Oct. 18 - Police officer.
KEMMERER, Wyo., January - Police officer.
PINEDALE, Wyo., February - Police officer.
WHITTIER, Calif., Oct. 23 - Police training.
GREEN RIVER Wyo., February to April - Police officer.
WESTOVER, W.Va., August to October - Police officer.
WESTON, W.Va., April 8 to June 30 - Deputy, Lewis County Sheriff's Department.
WAYNE, W.Va., Aug. 15 to Sept. 20 - Police chief. EAST BANK, W.Va., Sept. 27 to Nov. 8 - Police chief.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Late 1983 to early 1984 - Part-time drug informant.
TERRA ALTA, W.Va., February - Police chief.
RANIER, Ore., October - Application for patrolman's job.
OREGON CITY, Ore., Fall - Keyser worked as an apartment manager.
GRANITE FALLS, Wash., January and February - Police chief.
AURORA, Ore., January to April - Reserve police officer.
OREGON CITY, Ore., February - Keyser was accused of embezzling rent money from the apartment building he managed.
AVON PARK, Fla., August - Police chief.
OROFINO, Idaho, July 1 to July 21 - Police officer.
ENFIELD, N.C., October to February 1987 - Police chief.
OAK HILL, Fla., April 28 to Sept. 3 - Police chief.
MURPHY, Texas, January to March - City administrator.
PILOT POINT, Texas, July - Application for police chief.
PIKEVILLE, Ky., Aug. 2 to Aug. 8. - City manager. Keyser resigned by telephone after reporters discovered his resume was fake.
PORT ROYAL, S.C., September - Application for town manager. Mayor Henry Robinson said he became suspicious and discovered Keyser had falsely listed the International City Managers Association as a previous employer.
KAKE, Alaska, October to Dec. 20 - City administrator. Keyser is fired after being arrested in his city office on a fugitive warrant from Kentucky.