Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
It's a lesson that a California man will have plenty of time to review behind bars.
Andy James was sentenced to 41 months in prison in September by a California judge, after running a scam that fooled a number of manufacturing companies, including Martin Door. He was also ordered to pay up to $90,499 in restitution.
The scam was simple enough. Using the pretext of being with a movie company, James---who went by the name of Carson Rogan---asked manufacturing companies to contribute product towards a movie, with promises of some perks for the company, if they did so. This is not an uncommon request and Martin Doors has been seen in several movies and training films.
Martin Door Manufacturing contributed two powder coat doors towards the movie, which was allegedly being produced by Paramount Pictures entitled "The World Is My Stage." The contribution came with a promise of some mention of Martin Doors in the movie, as part of the script, and some finished product shots. Mentioning the Martin name and showing the Martin Door as part of a larger show was intriguing to the entire advertising department at MDM. The bogus website was especially convincing.
The story was featured in a December 2006 version of the Martinews, suggesting Martin Doors were hitting the silver screen. The edition was eventually put on line as well.
Turns out the donation didn't go to a movie at all, but ended up in a Nevada warehouse. After connecting the dots, shortly after the story was first publicized, distribution of the story was pulled by Martin officials, except for the Martinews on the website.
As the scam spread to other companies, and as officials from the various targeted sought to get information on Rogan, they were directed to the Martin Door website and to contact with Antone Clark, chief communications officer.
Clark coordinated efforts between legitimate officials of Paramount, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the victims. In most cases, people would do a Goggle search on the name of Carson Rogan, and be directed to the Martin Door website.
Clark said his oldest son, an attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego, advised him on how to make contact with the FBI, in helping to build a case.
As the list of victims grew, the FBI was able to build a case against James and specify his area of operation in California. Martin Door Manufacturing provided key e-mail information on Rogan and then kept victims and the FBI linked, as the list of victims grew. The calls of inquiry came on a fairly steady basis for almost an 18-month period, according to Clark.
"It's embarrassing to have been victimized, like we were, but it's encouraging to see the system work and to help facilitate conviction for someone who has committed a crime," Clark said of the verdict.
The Martin Door spokesman said he has also been in contact with the FBI Victims Bureau in linking information from the scammed companies.