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  1. #1
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    Scam warning, help appreciated!

    Hey folks,

    I recently got scammed by an avid poster on the DWS talent search. His goes by the name “Josh Hoopes” and his posted email is magic_bella@yahoo.com and also by the email joshjoejosh@yahoo.com. With the help of a few fellow artist that he scammed we managed to find out this:
    “He finds people who are looking for commissioned artists to do work for them, and he has them pay him making them think he's the artist. He then gets multiple artists involved to do the work, which he claims he does the work. I think he targets out of the US artist mostly, since most were from Argentina, Spain, Australia and Brazil.

    He gets the work done by the color people or whatever and never pays them keeping the money and giving the art to the commissioners.

    I was a commissioner, and 3 people came to me saying the work I posted was not Josh's work, but theirs, and one person proved it was theirs, which made Josh never contact me again, after I questioned him, and caught him with proof he never contacted me again.”

    I was commissioned to ink 24 pages at $50 a page paid at the end of the 24 pages. I did 12 and found this information out. I demanded a contract and he drew up a bogus one but I still trusted him at this point. He dodged all my questions about the other artist involved

    He told me his ‘company’ was “Visionaries Comics” and the comics they were doing are “Prairie Fire” and “Sophia.” You can find out more info here: http://mirrorstewedios.deviantart.co...6834/#comments

    These are the pencils he gave me. I am asking for you help in finding the artist who did them so he can be informed if he doesn’t know already. Any info is much appreciated....we are trying to put down this scammer!Thanks guys!
    Scam warning, help appreciated!
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    Scam warning, help appreciated!

    Last edited by Nyx702; February 23rd, 2008 at 01:37 PM.
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  4. #2
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    I'd let Rich Johnston know about this, it's right up his alley.


    Tristan Elwell
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  5. #3
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    Awesome Elwell! Email sent. I appreciate it.

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  6. #4
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    I found out some more information if anyone is interested.

    If you have been scammed by him could you please take a moment to fill out one or all of these complaint forums. They will only take a couple of minutes and it's the only way to bring legal attention to him. He may have some criminal charges already...

    http://www.cftc.gov/customerprotecti...form/index.htm

    http://www.ic3.gov/

    https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup


    There is some good discussion going on the DWS forums: http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums...d.php?t=122672

    Last edited by Nyx702; February 24th, 2008 at 10:35 PM.
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  7. #5
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  8. #6
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    Here is some more work he is claiming as his own...

    Scam warning, help appreciated!
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    If you know the artist or are the artist, please, get in touch with me...

    This guy's committing a federal crime


    Wire fraud is a legal concept in the United States Code which provides for enhanced penalty of any criminally fraudulent activity if it is determined that the activity involved electronic communications of any kind, at any phase of the event. As in the case of mail fraud, this statute is often used as a basis for a separate federal prosecution of what would otherwise have been only a violation of a state law.

    The crime of wire fraud is codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and reads as follows:

    Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.


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  9. #7
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    I see Rich has this up on LITG today, hope it generates some leads.


    Tristan Elwell
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  10. #8
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    Yea! I saw that. Rich, in fact, saved the day. He found and emailed me the link to the publisher of the comic: http://sophiaawakening.com/. He even contacted the studio one step ahead of me! I contacted them and the owner was shocked to say the lest. He was really nice and down to earth about it. Really nice guy. He hired out another studio, Atlantis Studio (http://www.atlantisstudios.net/) to do the work. Within 30 mins I got a call from the studio. I explained my evidence and emailed my source files to them. I know they want to pay the right person (me) and they want the right person to finish the work (me) so it seemed to be working out... they seemed to believe me...BUT THIS GUY IS FIGHTING IT!!! He is trying to still convince that he did the work! He is overnighting the "original ink boards" to them...funny thing is...I did them DIGITALLY! THERE IS NO ORIGINAL BOARDS. I was in contact with another client he scammed and he said that he tried the same trick but eventually gave up.

    We will see what happens...

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    Hope you don't mind me piggybacking on your thread...

    As someone else who was scammed by Josh Hoopes, I'm trying to find the real artist who drew the following pages. If anyone here recognises the work, I would very much appreciate the info.

    Thanks.

    Scam warning, help appreciated!

    Scam warning, help appreciated!

    Scam warning, help appreciated!

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  12. #10
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    Gotta say, this scammer has found some really good artists

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyx702 View Post
    Here is some more work he is claiming as his own...

    Scam warning, help appreciated!
    Scam warning, help appreciated!

    [/I]
    Those look like Stephen Platt's work. Not positive, but close to it.
    Heres one of Platt's pieces
    Scam warning, help appreciated!

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  14. #12
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    Ibrahim Amin: No problem at all my friend! Post everything that could be helpful. I am sorry we haven't been able to find your artist yet...

    Kamikazebob: Great call. Yea, I think the similarities are too close. I tried looking to see if he had a website but couldn't find any. Does anyone know how to get in contact with him? I am sure that is a silly question...

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  15. #13
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    You could try through Workshop. Thats where he put out a dvd on comic arts. I also have wanted to find more of his work but no luck there.

    http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/contact.html

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  16. #14
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    I think my part in this scam is finally underwraps. Rich Johnston from Lying In the Gutter has updated the story and has saved the day by sending me a link to the publisher!

    http://parasitepublishing.com

    I got in contact with them and they said they hired out Atlantis Studios to do the work. Within 30 mins I got a call from Atlantis and they were shocked but very nice about it. I gave them all my source material and process work to prove that I did the work. Things seemed to be going my why and I figured that "Josh" would just gracefully bow out defeated...but...HE WAS FIGHTING IT! He was still trying to convince Atlantis that he did the inking. He said that he would send the "original ink boards" to them. I was communicating with Ibrahim Amin about this and he also mentioned that "Josh" tired that before admitting defeat. As far as I know he never goes though with actually sending them but he uses it to buy time. IF, and that is a big "if," he does I am guessing he is printing out the hi-res images I gave him. If he did send them I suggested to Atlantis that they get the boards wet to see if the ink bleeds/runs. The ink used in even high end printers is still not waterproof whereas most inkers use archival waterproof ink.

    Long story short, I got an official contract from Atlantis and “Josh” got the boot.

    Moral of the Story:
    DON’T DO ANY WORK WITHOUT A DEPOSIT and If it sounds too good…it is.

    If anyone else gets wind of this guy again or has trouble please keep me informed and we can see what we can do about him.

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  17. #15
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    Congratulations Nyx! Glad to hear it all worked out, or at least mostly.

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  18. #16
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    Ok,

    It's been a while since this incident but I am still looking for him. It seems he has popped up again on Deviant Art Job forum and who knows where else.

    http://forum.deviantart.com/community/rips/1047944/

    He seems to be going by "crazypens" and "oipotty" on there: http://crazypens.deviantart.com/
    http://oipotty.deviantart.com/

    and possibly "riobravo_2008": http://s286.photobucket.com/albums/ll100/riobravo_2008/

    Here is a new phone number he has been using: 916-588-8810

    and a new email: crazypens@live.com

    Keep a look out guys!

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  19. #17
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    Looks like the dA thread got closed by an admin (about 30 mins or so ago from the time of this posting). Reason being, they dislike having other users be aware of art thieves who have names on the site because there's a separate mechanic for reporting them.

    I've sent a polite request to the admin in question that they get into contact and help. If they don't, I would contact one yourself. dA could really help out with this depending on what kind of information they have access to (did he try to sell prints? then he probably gave an address for the money to be sent to, etc.). It's a long shot, but it might be the break you need.

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  20. #18
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    Wild...thanks for telling me. Yea I will shoot them a note and see what they say...although....they do not seem to concerned.

    Whatever DA...you can get scammed see if I care!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyx702 View Post
    It seems he has popped up again on Deviant Art
    ...



    Is anybody else not surprised?

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  23. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyx702 View Post
    Wild...thanks for telling me. Yea I will shoot them a note and see what they say...although....they do not seem to concerned.

    Whatever DA...you can get scammed see if I care!
    Let us know what happens.

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    I usually hate to bring up old threads, but Josh Hoopes is at it again on Deviant Art, surprise surprise. Since he seems to be up to his old tricks, I thought it'd be good to breathe a bit of life into this thread and warn members here about him again.

    Last edited by paramnesia; August 2nd, 2008 at 07:46 PM. Reason: Grammar typos
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  25. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyx702 View Post
    Yea! I saw that. Rich, in fact, saved the day. He found and emailed me the link to the publisher of the comic: http://sophiaawakening.com/. He even..[ TONS OF STUFF RICH DID]
    I've no idea who Rich is, but he sounds like a bloody champion!

    I can't believe this Josh Hoopes guy really wants people to think he did all this art. The styles aren't even close to each other 0.o

    "You’re right you DO suck, now do something about it"
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  26. #23
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    He gets the work done by the color people or whatever
    You have a way with words.

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  27. #24
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    criminal charges are doubtful...very. Seems more like a civil case to me.

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  28. #25
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    paramnesia: Thanks alot man! I will update the forums were I have posted on other sites too. Thanks again for the heads up.

    Boolean: Rich Johnston is the man behind Lying in the Gutter on Comic Book Resource.

    Jason Manley: Hmmm...I have talked to the CA Police as well as the local police. I also got a hold of various internet crime agencies. I informed the admins wherever I see his postings too. I really haven't much progress with any of them. I asked everyone that was scammed by him to also do this but weather they did or not...I am not sure. I am not sure what to do next....other than what we are doing now...

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  29. #26
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    chill with the hate on artists of DA, they are artists just the same as us.
    Disliking the late out and specific members or styles on the site is fine, but many of the artists from here, are also on there.

    Lets get rid of the people truly worth hating like scammers and rip off artists.

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  31. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by davi View Post
    chill with the hate on artists of DA, they are artists just the same as us.
    Disliking the late out and specific members or styles on the site is fine, but many of the artists from here, are also on there.

    Lets get rid of the people truly worth hating like scammers and rip off artists.
    Oh, its not the artists I'm against, its the atmosphere of praise of everything except the art that gets to me there. It is a big popularity grabbing asskissing hugfest there where drama abides and good art gets put on the backburner. If you haven't guessed I am one of the artists from here thats also on there. Thats why I think the place is worth bashing: experience.

    Also it should be pointed out that by not helping to get the guy in trouble or at least banning him for yoinking other people's art they are giving him a platform from which to continue his activities. If this is not a reason to look down on DA what is?

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  32. #28
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    UPDATE! UPDATE!
    Boy howdy, things just get better and better! It seems our scammer has been soliciting publishers for work by pretending to represent and/or actually be Art Adams. Rich Johnston is still on the case, and set up a little sting for him. The full story here and here.


    Tristan Elwell
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  34. #29
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    Thats friggin' awesome!

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  35. #30
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    how is that awesome? When's he getting prosecuted? Where's a guarantee he's ever giving money back?

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