Comics Conman Goes After Roleplaying Game Kickstarter

Comics Conman Goes After Roleplaying Game Kickstarter

A con artist who has been scamming comic book artists and publishers out of money for over a decade tried to con an RPG on Kickstarter.

The Daring Comics Role-Playing Game, a superhero RPG powered by the Fate system, had a close brush with a real life supervillain - Comic Con Man, who nearly scammed the publisher out of money with a dastardly plan that has worked on countless victims in the past.

Facetiousness aside, the con man is allegedly one Josh Hoopes, operating under the false identity of "Samitra Banks." Hoopes - or rather, "Banks" - was commissioned by lead designer Lee F. Szczepanik, Jr. to do some work on the upcoming Daring Comics RPG, now on Kickstarter. Banks approached Daring Entertainment in January with a portfolio of work that turned out to be stolen from various artists and claimed to need a bank-to-bank transfer for payment rather than PayPal.

Anna Lunsford of Daring Entertainment and creator of the Kickstarter campaign became suspect and investigated Banks' routing number, which didn't check out. Banks asked for a portion of the payment to be delivered up front, but Daring asked to see progress first. After 11 days, Banks finally replied with an excuse as pathetic as "the dog ate my homework," claiming that her five-year-old spilled ink all over her work.

It was then that one of Daring's new members informed Szczepanik of Josh Hoopes, scoped out by vigilante investigator Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool. For over a decade, Johnston has been chasing this white whale of a con man in an attempt to thwart his efforts. Hoopes has allegedly been using various pseudonyms over the years to scam small comic book publishers and fledgling comic book artists.

Unlike Hoopes' countless past victims, Daring Entertainment's story has a happy ending - not only did the company narrowly avoid being scammed, but Lunsford has sent "Banks'" falsified contract and bank information to the FBI.

Hoopes would have gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids...

Source: Kickstarter

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Man, what an asshole.
On the plus side, that end joke was pretty funny.

I'm interested in Hoopes' motivation to resort to scamming.

If it's anything sociopathic, then I pray he dies horribly.

What a douchebag. I hope he gets tossed in prison and gets stomped on by two fat guys named Tiny and Bubbles.

Good on Daring Entertainment for not falling for this. Don't allow good intentions to make way for gullibility.

Will I be banned if I upload and post a picture of Josh Hoopes in this place? I found his face and it's too smug to not post here, so Escapist readers can get a feel of his utter arrogance oozing from his ugly smirk.

Quick! Somebody call Phoenix Jones on this guy! That'll sort him out!

JoshuaMadoc:
Will I be banned if I upload and post a picture of Josh Hoopes in this place? I found his face and it's too smug to not post here, so Escapist readers can get a feel of his utter arrogance oozing from his ugly smirk.

I had to picture google it, and holy shit, first result was spot on smugness to the max.
Also, I like how there's a vigilante investigator who's been tracking down this guy for over a decade. This could probably be a cool movie to watch.

Interesting, but my big question is that if this guy is so prolific and even has freelance investigators (going by an article I found from Bleeding Cool in 2009) chasing him, why hasn't he ben arrested yet? Who he is seems to be almost a matter of public record, he keeps getting caught and his identities clearly traced back to him, it makes little sense to me.

I have no doubt he's running a scam, but I think there is a piece of this guy's story missing. Right now I'm wondering about how if this RPG company caught Hoopes, why he's not being arrested and facing criminal charges. Is he operating out of a non-extradition treaty country or something? Or is Hoopes just his first known pseudonym, and nobody actually knows who it is?

Therumancer:
Interesting, but my big question is that if this guy is so prolific and even has freelance investigators (going by an article I found from Bleeding Cool in 2009) chasing him, why hasn't he ben arrested yet? Who he is seems to be almost a matter of public record, he keeps getting caught and his identities clearly traced back to him, it makes little sense to me.

I have no doubt he's running a scam, but I think there is a piece of this guy's story missing. Right now I'm wondering about how if this RPG company caught Hoopes, why he's not being arrested and facing criminal charges. Is he operating out of a non-extradition treaty country or something? Or is Hoopes just his first known pseudonym, and nobody actually knows who it is?

Could be he's sending everything online and they don't know where he actually lives. If that's true, there's probably several ways he can comment online or send e-mails anonymously enough that people would be unable to find him. He probably would be facing such charges if he could be found.

 

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