Sunday, September 02, 2007

Victoria Strauss -- Laray Carr Publications, a.k.a. LC Publications, a.k.a. LCP Media

At the beginning of August, I got a question about Laray Carr Publications, a magazine publisher whose ads on Craigslist and elsewhere offered writers a fee of $50 per article for ten articles on subjects to be provided by the publisher. My questioner was concerned because she couldn't find any information on the company, and its answers to her questions were vague and evasive.

(Parenthetical note: I know that tons of people think Craigslist is fab, but I mostly hear about it in connection with scams. Please, writers, treat any writing-related opportunity advertised on Craigslist--or any other free jobs listing--with extra care. If your research doesn't turn up enough information to absolutely satisfy you that the company is for real, move on, no matter how tempting the opportunity seems.)

I looked at LCP's contract and accompanying material, did some additional research, and noted the following issues.

- Apart from the aforementioned Craigslist ads and one or two other job postings (the multiple grammatical and spelling errors in these ads aren't tremendously confidence-inspiring), information on LCP was nonexistent. No website. No press releases. No publications. Not even a street address or phone number.

- LCP's contract (which, like its ads, was punctuated with errors) was exclusive for only one month after first publication, but gave the company unlimited rights to re-use and re-publish articles without further compensation to authors. Publishers re-using articles without compensation has been an item of major contention in the writing world over the past few years, and the subject of legal decisions (such as Tasini vs. the NY Times).

- No word count was specified for the articles. $50 for a capsule review isn't so bad, but for a 1,000-word or longer article, it's pretty poor. (Apparently, LCP is actually paying only $25 for shorter articles--see some of the complaints linked in below--but this was not mentioned anywhere in the materials I saw.)

- Payment was on publication--which in real-life terms means "possibly never," especially where, as in this case, the company hasn't actually published anything yet.

- Did I mention that LCP hadn't published anything yet? Nevertheless, it was planning to launch 35 different magazines--with titles such as Foodie ("focus on good living and fine food"), Shake 'Em ("written for the specialty drink and cocktail consumer"), Satire ("features fashion, beauty, health and entertainment news"), Urban Bride ("a must have for the African American bride to be"), Scope and Barrel ("ultimate sportsman magazine"), and Tricked ("for enthusiast [sic] of the specialty culture of the fixed up rides")--on September 20, 2007.

Say what? 35 different magazines? All at the same time? By September 20? When here it was the beginning of August, and they were short enough of articles to still be advertising for writers??? I've been involved in a magazine startup, so I know a little bit about the enormous amount of time and money it takes to launch just one magazine, and the intense effort that's required to shepherd it through the promotion, publicity, and distribution process after it's published. Even with a successful launch, it can be a long time before the publisher sees a profit--if indeed it ever does. No publisher in its right mind would try to launch 35 magazines simultaneously.

All in all, LCP seemed extremely suspicious to me. Not a scam, maybe, but certainly not a professional endeavor. I suggested that my questioner steer clear.

Fast-forward to September. LCP is still running ads (in addition to writers, it's now calling for sales reps--note the familiar spelling/grammatical/typing errors), but there's still no sign of a website, advertising, or any other publicity for the imminent magazine launch. Nevertheless, LCP's web presence has dramatically increased, due to a burgeoning number of comments from writers who are skeptical about LCP's credentials or are having second thoughts about writing for the company. See, for instance, this post from Matt Finley's A Musing Scribe blog; this thread from the Absolute Write message board; and these two threads at Deborah Ng's Freelance Writing Jobs blog (LCP staffer Hope Hunt shows up in the second thread to defend the company). Another thread posted at the Online Writing Jobs website, in which Roger Owens of LCP appeared to make legal threats against writers who voiced doubts about the company, has been removed.

Summing up writers' concerns:

- LCP's pay rates are not as advertised. Ads say $50 per article, but writers have been told that shorter articles pay only $25.

- LCP's business plan is insane. See above.

- Questions about the company and its magazines yield vague, contradictory responses. LCP staff don't seem to know anything about the company, its finances, its goals and objectives, or its personnel.

- Little hard information about LCP can be found. No website. No street address or phone number--not even on LCP's contract or in its writers' guidelines (I have copies). One writer alleges that the fax number provided by LCP staffer Hope Hunt in her emails traces to a steam cleaning company in Virginia. I've confirmed this. It's actually not so surprising, considering that the cleaner's website is registered to Hope Hunt. (Here's Hope Hunt's own website; note the similarities.)

- Will writers be paid for their work? Many writers have turned in articles. Given the questions about LCP's viability and the fact that payment is on publication, they're concerned about whether they'll ever see a check.

Writer Beware is concerned as well. We advise writers and other job seekers to be extremely cautious with this company.

Names under which LCP has presented itself: Laray Carr Publications, LCP Media, LC Publications.

Staff names associated with LCP to date: Austin Beck, Howard Davis, Hope Hunt, Roger Owens, David Person.

200 comments:

WritingAllNight said...

I posted an email from Hope Hunt on the Freelance Writer's Board (Deb's Board) where Hope says her husband runs the cleaning company. She never addresses any of the contract concerns.

It's sad such a huge scam can come about and have such staying power due to advertising what many new writers consider a great rate of pay. When $50 can draw us in, maybe we all need to rethink what we will work for.

Anonymous said...

It looks, walks, and quacks like a scam, but I'm hazy on how the scammer benefits. Sure, it looks like the writers won't get paid for their articles, but how will the scammer make money? Slap a different name on and then sell the articles to a real paying market? What if the articles suck and don't sell? Seems to me they'd make cash faster by running a three card monty game on the sidewalk in front of the dry cleaners.

Fifty magazines in one throw? Good freakin' grief, the people involved have been sniffing the cleaning fumes.

Carrie said...

I was told that they're looking for over 900 articles a month. These articles could be resold, slapped up on a website with some advertising to earn money, bundled and sold to webmasters -- there are all kinds of ways to make money from free content. Take a look around the web. These articles don't have to be well-written to bring in some cash.

The other thing that is really fishy to me is that they don't even check a writer's clips or credentials before assigning articles. When I wrote to request more information, the reply I received from Roger Owens (who also uses a gmail address) was to contact Hope for article assignment. No one asked to see clips or a resume, I was just asked how many articles I could complete by Monday.

Thanks for looking into this, Victoria.

Victoria Strauss said...

In latest news (from this thread from Deborah Ng's Freelance Writing Jobs blog), a woman who identifies herself as a consultant hired by LCP says that the company is owned by a millionaire ex-sports star who has the money to fund the magazines, and that it has hired designers etc., contracted with a printer, bought ad space, and secured distribution. Launch date has been pushed back to October.

We'll see. I will definitely be following this.

Victoria Strauss said...

P.S. I'm not at all convinced it's a scam. Right now I'm thinking it's more likely a hugely ill-advised vanity project that will end in tears for everyone involved.

Deborah Ng said...

I don't believe Craigslit to be the root of all evil. I found so many great jobs there - but I do believe they need to make it more difficult for scammers and no payers to post their offers.

I don't know if Laray Carr is a scam or not. There are several things that don't sit right with me, first and foremost is their reluctance to give out information about themselves. I would never work for a business that not only refuses to list pertinent contact information in the contract, but also evades questions regarding said details.

My other issues have to do with the publishing angle. I worked many years in a publishing house. Starting up one or two magazines in one year is not only expensive, it's risky. For anyone to think he can launch 35 magazines in a month is not only foolish - it's idiotic. I don't care how many millionaire ball players on board.

Also, the desperation in their ads is a red flag - asking for multiple articles to be turned in within a matter of days? How long have they been planning this ventures that they're looking to stock their 35 magazines in only a month? How is this possible?

Also, how can they focus proper attention on promoting and circulating each individual magazine when so many are launched at the same time?

It may not be a scam, but it's certainly a foolish venture, one all writers would be well advised to stay away from.

Gregory Ludwig said...

I know nothing about this company other than what is referenced here, but I thought I might submit the following to suggest why LCP may not be a *scam*, but may be a rather stupidly planned business venture that in essence is not unique in the annals of publishing, but may also be close to a scam for the *practical purposes* of writers. I worked for a company called All American Crafts in 1990-91 (it still exists), and it produced numerous also-ran-type magazines (they were virtually designed to be second- or third-tier), and most (or huge percentages) of the copies of a given issue were returned from newsstands unsold, according to annual U.S. Postal Service statements of ownership. The company was owned by a man (with two partners) who had made money in porn, and he had this crafts-mag company as a sort of "showpiece," as one or more of the sincere-enough editors there admitted it was. The owner actually had been (and perhaps still is) a big wheel in the magazine *distribution* industry; he was a consultant for distribution of big titles such as Muscle and Fitness. This crafts-mag venture may have been a way to "give back" to the public via innocent magazines after he had made $ in porn; it may also have served him well for tax write-offs to counterbalance money made from his other business interests. One of his partners, who died not long ago, was a big porn publisher (of small-name mags), who had originally been a schoolteacher in Canada, I believe. Bottom line: it is not hard to start magazines, including several at a time, if you have the financing and/or connections that allow distribution. The mags could be returned unsold from newsstands at a high percentage, and after a certain number of instances of this, the publisher may fold some or all of the titles. Why would a millionaire do this? In the specific case of LCP, who knows. But it's not completely insane. And for beginning writers, publishing articles in these also-ran mags *may* be a way to accumulate clips, but beware of bad editing, a long lead time to publishing, monkey business with getting paid, etc.

Anonymous said...

I am very afraid if this is a scam (although I do not think it is). I sent this company my information, as well as signed the contract (which seemed pretty standard?). I just googled the company and found this, as opposed to a site. This is scary. $50 for 1000+ articles IS low, but if it is steady money, I do not mind. At this point, I need a few steady gigs in addition to my creative endeavors. I was contacted after sending my resume/writing samples, and asked what I could contribute by a said deadline. Hope Hunt is who I dealt with, and she was very quick and courteous to get back to me. I do not think a scammer would be so inclined? Who knows. At this time, I sincerely hope I see money out of this, as I do need it and did work "under the gun" to churn out content. Pray for me, folks.

bjh said...

Anonymous, most scammers are quick and courteous; it's profitable for them to be so. This may not be a scam if someone clueless is throwing money around. If so, I hope they throw some towards the writers.

For future reference, whether scam or clueless, it's good to get the finances in writing.

Two things I would worry about is the lack of request for writing credentials and the "last-minute" mentality. It doesn't sound as if they'll be overly picky as to what they publish so, if not a scam, it's doubtful they'll be in business long. This has nothing to do with the writer, who may be submitting excellent articles, but with the publisher.

If they've accepted your pieces, and they do pay when (and if) they publish, you may have some negotiating room to tie down finances. Good luck.

Maybe they should hire an editor, also.

Deb said...

@Gregory Ludwig - I'm very familiar with whom you're speaking of. George Mavety was part owner of All American Crafts and dozens or porn magazines through the Mavety Media Group umbrella.

While Mr.Mavety was known to launch several magazines a year, he also would tell you it's fool hardy to launch about 35 at the same time. Especially if you're unknown in the publishing world.

MMG already had established relationships with printers, distributors and more but when he started his empire it was with one magazine only. Therein lies the difference.

Amy Derby said...

Victoria, thanks for wrapping all of this up so nicely. I've been following bits and pieces here and there. Like you, I don't think there's enough evidence yet to call it a scam, but it's certainly a group of folks I'll avoid working with. I've linked to your post on my blog to warn others, because you summarized it all so well. Thanks for what you do here.

Gregory Ludwig said...

Deb:
Thanks for your info re George Mavety. Glad to hear there is someone else who knows about All American Crafts and associates. You're right, launching 35 mags at once (in LCP's case) seems ridiculous. The only possible sense it could make is, as with so much else regarding the Internet today, the LCP principals feel they can increase their chances of success and reduce risk via creating a widely spread sensation, and drawing a large number of contributors, via the Internet. When I was with AAC in the early 1990s, of course the Internet didn't exist with the public access it has now, but AAC did start several titles when I was there with a tiny staff and tiny pay for us. And the principle for quality of content was middle-of-the-road, almost mediocre; it was trying to make "also-ran" product par excellence, if that makes any sense.
One additional point I thought of after posting my longer comment above is that a launch of several magazines at once by a company that seems like borderline sleaze exemplifies publishing in its crudest, most reptilian form--it's about distribution and seeing what sales you get back from throwing a bunch of product out there, and secondary to this is attracting talent to provide the product's content.

Anonymous said...

If the person has a free ISP like yahoo or hotmail, I go, "Whoa babies." Flags all over the place! Anyone who "risk shares" with this guy is nuts, in my humble. Did someone really say $50 for 1000 articles was OK since it was steady? This is on OUR planet?

Anonymous said...

I just received an email from Hope Hunt from Laray Carr Publications looking to buy photography from me. I am a professional photographer with a lot of golf type imagery, this is what Hope Hunt was saying she need ASAP for their publication coming out ASAP. Thank you for posting on this page as a heads up for other people she is comtacting. This really helps - thanks.

The Grump said...

Isn't this just another case of "if it sounds too good to be true, it isn't"?

The $50.00 seems terribly low to me. Over a decade ago I made that for one time rights (reprint)for a 500-750 word article PAC. I know a lot of print markets have dried up, but has it gotten that bad? I didn't even bother with POP publications unless they were local newspapers.

Anonymous said...

I believe this is a scam and "Hope" is the ring leader.

Intelius Report for Laray Carr Publications Business Address:

Current Resident:
Thelma Smith
201 CRENSHAW ST
TERRELL, TX 75160
Confirmed Current Address

Whois Output for: epoh.com

Domain Name Owner:
Huckaby, Hope
709 Edgestone Pl #157
Arlington, TX 76006
US

Administrative Contact:
Huckaby, Hope
709 Edgestone Pl #157
Arlington, TX 76006, US
Phone: 469-358-2724
Email: hope_e_huckaby@hotmail.com

Whois Output for: steamingcleaning.net

Domain Name Owner:
Hunt, Hope
885 Cascade Dr.
Newport News, VA 23608
US

Administrative Contact:
Hunt, Hope
885 Cascade Dr.
Newport News, VA 23608, US
Phone: 757-576-0019
Email: hope_e_hunt@hotmail.com

I have connections with USPS and they have never received any mail at the Terrell, Texas address with the name Laray Carr or Roger Owens.
Also, my connection at UPS says a package has never been through their system with the name Laray Carr. No packages sent or received, ever!

Anonymous said...

LCP's profile id on guru.com is
832156.

They owe $1760 to someone for graphic design, unpaid. $1,200 is an uppaid invoice from 8/10.

Never paid anyone, but posted several jobs.

Hope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous 5:45--

If you look at the Whois domain registration info for www.epoh.com (Hope Hunt's Virtual Assistant website), you'll see it was registered to Hope Huckaby in Texas in 2002. The Whois info for the steam cleaner's website (whose fax number is the same as the one Hope Hunt provides in her LCP emails) shows it was registered to Hope Hunt in Virginia in 2005.

One very simple explanation for the name and location change would be that Hope got married and moved to Virginia. This is strongly suggested by the info on archived versions of her website, which are very different from the current version. It's a little bit of a tangled web, but not a mystery.

I've no idea what the Terrell, TX connection is, or who Thelma Smith is. Nor can I confirm that info, since I'm not willing to pay $14.95 to Intelius.

Anonymous 5:55--

Unless I'm doing something wrong, your info doesn't check out. That profile ID on Guru.com leads to a resume posting for an administrative assistant in Utah.

Victoria Strauss said...

Hi, Hope. Thanks for your comments. You posted just as I was putting my comments online.

I appreciate your willingness to answer questions. I do have a few.

- What's your exact job title with Laray Carr Publications?

- Who owns Laray Carr Publications? If it's a division of a larger company, what's the company's name?

- Where is LCP's funding coming from?

- It's been said that LCP has designers, printers, advertising, and distribution already in place. Can you provide any details? For instance, who will be distributing the magazines? Where will ads appear?

- It's been said that websites for the magazines have been created and are ready to go. Can you give us an idea of when they will go live?

- Is the company still planning to launch 35 magazines at once?

- What's the current launch date for the magazines?

- Could you clear up the questions about the Terrell, Texas address?

Thanks very much for helping to shed some light on a murky situation.

Hope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ALC said...

Interesting.

Shouldn't the director of communications for ANY company be able to answer such simple, direct questions about the functioning of sed business?

How is it that Ms.Hunt was given such an important role in this company then left dangling without any pertinent information?

Surely the director of communications (this would indicate a PR role) would be well versed in such information and would be able to readily answer these questions. They are, after all, straight forward, and should certainly be no mystery to the company's head PR/Communications person. It sounds as though this lady really doesn't have any answers at all.

And, I'm very sorry, but to leave such pointed, simple questions unanswered with a "you'll have to go to the source" line??? If Ms. Hunt had no intention of actually answering questions, why bother?

I also find it uncommonly "convenient" that the site is not up and running. It leads the skeptic in me to assume that the page that the info leads to is just a dummy set up to hold off further questions until the person/persons involved in this bizarre fantasy can come up with a few pages of half-way believable tripe.

Again, this is the skeptic in me speaking. I hope that this is not the case.

Ms. Hunt, surely it wouldn't be too much of an inconvenience to answer the following questions:

Who owns Laray Carr Publications? If it's a division of a larger company, what's the company's name?

Where is LCP's funding coming from?

And, for anyone unfamiliar with common business practice, if this company is legitimate all of this information will be a matter of public record, therefore: Ms.Hunt shouldn't have any "legal" issues about answering these questions.

bjh said...

I'm assuming it was Ms. Hunt's posts that she herself removed. If she removed rather than answer, Anonymous 4:28, back away slowly. IMO, send a registered notice that you're yanking back your articles and try to resell.

Micah said...

I have sent an e-mail to Hope asking for when the magazines would be launched and recieved no response. I have also sent an invoice for the articles I wrote for them. No response on that either.

Victoria Strauss said...

Luckily, I have comments in this blog set to go to my email address, so even though Hope has removed her comments here, I still have both her posts.

In her first post, Hope admitted that her husband runs the steam cleaning business in Newport News, VA, where the Laray Carr faxes go.

In her second post, Hope stated that her title with Laray Carr is Director of Publishing Communication. She said she wasn't involved in advertising or distribution, so couldn't answer those questions--but they'd be addressed once the Laray Carr website went live. That was set to happen yesterday, but problems "problems with the backend" had arisen, so the website was currently just a place holder. (I just checked; the place holder is still there.) Hope also said that the individual magazine websites would go live just after the main Laray Carr website did, and that the magazines' launch had been pushed from September 20, 2007, to the first week in October.

The Whois information for Laray Carr's URL reveals that it was created on August 30, 2007. When was the last time you heard of a business waiting till a month before launch to register its domain name?

The address given for Laray Carr is 151 Meadowview CT 605, Terrell, Texas 75160. The Internet isn't totally reliable for stuff like this, but here's what turns up when you run a search on that address: a business called Mecum Technologies Corp. (the phone numbers are different, though). Meadowview Court appears to be a community of townhomes.

The administrative/technical contact for Laray Carr is Quincy Carr. Again acknowledging the Internet's limitations for people searching, several Quincy Carrs can be found online--including this one, a comedian born in Texas but based in Chesapeake, VA, which is in the same area code region as Newport News, VA, where Hope Hunt's husband's steam cleaning business is.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Anonymous said...

Okay, it now seems that there's surely enough information to suggest that this is a scam. As I too have written an article for them I'm curious on how to proceed. How do I go about sending a registered notice if I want the article back? Is there any way to insure that they don't resell it? I imagine not. While I'm horrified that people would engage in this kind of article scamming I don't desperately need the money right now - should I just write this off as a good learning experience?

Hope said...

I deleted my posts trying to help clear things up when someone called my husband's business and yelled at his secretaries and threatened my family.

My husband's business has nothing to do with this nor do I personally as I am doing a job just like all the writers who have chosen to write. Laray Carr has not violated any agreements with anyone as EVERYONE was told they would not be paid until the launch.

I used his fax machine because it was easier for me, not because it has anything else to do with the Laray Carr company. Please stop harassing my family. At this point, just stop and wait to see what happens, all the "rumors" are not going to change the outcome, in fact, all they are doing is hurting a great opportunity for many people who need/want to work and many people are working very hard to get these magazines launched.

Anonymous said...

Info given by LCP:
Based in Forth Worth, Texas, Laray Carr Print is a subsidiary of a North Texas Diversified Investment Company.

Company lists several "corporate officers" being named. All corporations are required by law to file their articles of incorporation.

Texas corporation search link:
http://ecpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/Index.html

Company Information: NORTH TEXAS DIVERSIFIED INVESTMENTS INC
5633 WESTCREEK DR %BENJAMIN K BANKS
FORT WORTH, TX 76133-2248

Status: NOT IN GOOD STANDING
Registered Agent: BENJAMIN K BANKS
5633 WESTCREEK
FT. WORTH, TX 76133
Registered Agent Resignation Date:
State of Incorporation: TX
File Number: 0104917100
Charter/COA Date: December 9, 1987
Charter/COA Type: Charter
Taxpayer Number: 30010805999


All investment companies are also required to register. I have spoken on the phone with the Texas office of public accounts and have turned up nothing registered as Laray Carr. An old company with the name Texas Diversified Investments. None of the named "corporate officers" were found in the search.

Anonymous said...

PS: The website is not running because they wouldn't pay the designers, who won't release the work.

Anonymous said...

PSS: If I had the distinguished title of Director of Communications, I would fork out $9.99 a month to set up an online fax service to make my "company presence" appear to be more professional.

Victoria Strauss said...

Interesting information, Anonymous. However, I'm compelled to point out that "a subsidiary of a North Texas Diversified Investment Company" is not necessarily the same as "North Texas Diversified Investments Inc."

How do you know the designers haven't been paid? I've seen/received no complaints about that.

Anonymous said...

Hi V,

To be clearer, I don't think the two Investment companies are the same. Merely, I wanted to point out that LCP has not obtained proper licensure required by the state of Texas to operate a business, or in their case, a corporation. Articles of incorporation are filed with the states to put on record financial/ownership of a company. Perhaps this is an oversight of LCP. Although the Articles could be filed with another state, the DBA “Laray Carr” would be required to be filed with Texas if indeed that is their principal location of operation. Texas also requires that any resident named as an officer of a corporation file with the state of Texas regardless of their location of operation or state the Articles have been filed.

Yes, I have knowledge of web designers who have not been paid. They have been watching. Perhaps they will post.

Those individuals stating they are “officers” within the company have knowledge of this blog. I find it curious they do not respond to any of the questions. Hope responds with her limited knowledge. The “officers” have threatened “legal” action for posting on this site. LMAO.

So, prove me wrong LCP. Post your Articles of Incorporation! I think your business is a SCAM!

Hope: The only backend problem with the web is the designers who took it in the @!! and didn’t get paid.

Blondie - Pamela said...

Just to let you know I did put a link to your blog on my blog. I beleive you have a great deal of information that needs to be seen. My blog is http://www.articlescsmmers.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to what kind of rights LCP Media has listed in the contracts the writers are signing.

Victoria Strauss said...

Here are the relevant clauses from the Laray Carr contract I saw at the beginning of August (complete with spelling and other errors):

Services to be Provided by Writer. Writer agrees to submit, on his or her sole initiative, written articles to the Laray Carr Publications on the following subjects, Displayed Above (the "Articles"). The manner and method of producing these Articles is solely at the discretion of Writer; Laray Carr Publications has no right of control over Writers manner or method of performance under this Agreement. Writer will submit Articles in accordance with the schedule of copy deadlines being used by the Laray Carr Publications.

Compensation. Laray Carr Publications agrees to pay Writer per Article published by Laray Carr Publications. Under no circumstances will Writer be paid on an hourly, daily or other basis that is a function of time. Writer acknowledges and agrees that Laray Carr Publications will only pay writer for Articles that are published and Laray Carr Publications has the sole and exclusive authority to determine whether or not to publish any and all Articles submitted by Writer. Laray Carr Publications agrees to pay Writer per photograph published in conjunction with an Article; however, Writer understands and agrees that Laray Carr Publications may publish, at its sole discretion, any number of photographs less than or equal to those submitted by Writer with the Article.

Taxes. As an Independent Contractor, Writer shall be responsible for the reporting, deposit and payment of any and all federal, state, and local taxes, including but not limited to income taxes, FICA taxes, and unemployment taxes incidental to the performance of, or payment under this Agreement.

Assignment and Ownership of Intellectual Property. Writer hereby understands and agrees that all Articles submitted to, and published by, Laray Carr Publications under this Agreement shall be considered works for hire, and further, to the extend any intellectual property right does not pass pursuant to a work for hire, Writer hereby assigns to Laray Carr Publications all rights to publish the Article, and all previously submitted articles of Writer, in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, including without limitation the rights to archive, republish, edit, repackage or revise any Article in any manner as Laray Carr Publications sees fit. The rights conferred upon Laray Carr Publications by this agreement shall be exclusive to Laray Carr Publications for a period of 1 months after the first date Laray Carr Publications initially publishes the Article.


Reading this originally, I assumed that Laray Carr had confused "work for hire" with "independent contractor," but reading it again now, I'm not so sure. From Nolo's definition of works made for hire: "With a work for hire, the author and copyright owner of a work is the person who pays for it, not the person who creates it."

On the other hand, if LCP publishes an article, its claim on rights becomes non-exclusive one month after publication--which usually means that authors can then sell their articles elsewhere as reprints. This contradicts the work for hire language, under which LCP would simply own the articles outright.

So this is actually even murkier than I initially thought.

Gregory Ludwig said...

Victoria:
Re your Sept. 7 8:44 p.m. comment: The contract is messier than you're suggesting. Three things are confused: work for hire; "independent contractor" (which normally would call for freelance-type pay, no taxes taken out by employer, and 1099-MISC at end of year); and the fact that the writing is paid for in *piecework* style. I.e., $50 an article, or whatever it is. If these are paid for in piecework style, then that is not "independent contractor" work, which normally involves some calculation of pay based on time. Thus, if a writer is paid piecemeal for articles, this would fall under "other income" on federal Form 1040 and would not be subject to state unemployment or other such state tax (but would only fall under "other income" for state income tax where applicable).
I say this as a layperson who has worked under payroll, or independent contractor, or non-independent contractor freelance pay arrangements over a number of years.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how someone would stop a contract like this after signing. Is something available for that?

Victoria Strauss said...

Again quoting the contract I saw at the beginning of August:

Contract Period. This agreement will begin on the date set forth below and shall continue until terminated as provided by either party. If either party violates a term of this Agreement, then the other party (the "Non-breaching Party") may terminate this Agreement, effective immediately upon delivery of written notice of termination by the Non-breaching Party. Not withstanding the foregoing, either party may terminate this Agreement at any time for any or no reason, effective upon thirty (30) days written notice.

The last sentence would appear to make it possible to terminate the agreement simply by writing to LCP. Since the street address is in doubt, my suggestion would be to send your termination notice to the email address of whoever was your contact with the company.

Terminating will sever your relationship with the company, but if you've already submitted articles, LCP would still retain rights to them.

Anonymous said...

WHOA.

That's all I got to say...

I really needed that money *broken heart*

I know what the facts are pointing 2. I have been following these blogs. Thanks a lot, Hope Hunt and Roger Owens--if you do exist! Whoever you are...

Anonymous said...

Haha. Also...DAVID PERSON the contract says. I bet they thought that was tooo cute!

I am suinggggg. I almost hope I don't get paid!!

Micah said...

I'm happy to say that Hope emailed me back and recieved my invoice. She said the checks will be mailed out before the beginning of October as the launch had changed to October. So it seems that's why writers were not notified because the checks will still be sent out close to Sept. 20th.

I just want to make sure I'm putting in that I DID recieve response since I said I had not gotten one yet.

Penny said...

Just like most of you I am very curious as to the outcome of this. At this point I feel I just have to wait until I should get paid and hope for the best.

I was contracted to do Marketing for Laray Carr. I cannot see any advantage this company would have to scam me.

I was provided with very detailed stuff and have done a reasonable amount of work for them. If its a scam, its pretty in depth.

I asked my contact just a couple of days ago if I would still get paid by the end of September as my contract said. I was told that I would probably get paid before then.

I am still getting responses to all of my questions and there has been talk of extending my contract. (Obviously I wouldn't do this until I have been paid for the first stuff.)

Anyway, I just thought I would share another point of view. I'm very intrigued and concerns, but trying to be cautiously optimistic.

Anonymous said...

The Terrel Texas townhome address is Quincy Carr's grandmothers address. From all the imformation ive gathered so far he is not the person I have thought he was for the last 8 years. So yes becareful.
I also found this http://www.glowhost.com/hall-of-shame/

Victoria Strauss said...

Adding a link to the anonymous comment above: http://www.glowhost.com/hall-of-shame It's definitely worth a look.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested, Laray Carrs website is up, go have a look.
www.laraycarr.net

Victoria Strauss said...

Well, it's up, but as of right now it's a shell--none of the links go anywhere.

ALC said...

I notice that "Penny" said:

I was contracted to do Marketing for Laray Carr.

And:

I was provided with very detailed stuff and have done a reasonable amount of work for them.

But, oddly enough, she didn't offer any answers to the simple questions of corporate identity that have been posed here. I've worked in various areas of business for many years & have yet to come across a "marketing agent" that wasn't completely well versed in the company's history, ties and business plan. This is vital info for a marketing person to have.

So, Penny, how did you happen to be hired for this position? Do you have any relevant experience in marketing? If LCP has given you such detailed info, and you are obviously aware of the questions listed in this particular blog, why didn't you provide these simple answers?

You seem to be a very "perky" sort who is in high spirits and fully anticipates being "paid" on time because you supposedly got a prompt response from "Hope".

I also notice that your blogger i.d. is no longer available for viewing.

Granted most blogger info is usually pretty annonymous anyway since it is created voluntarily by the blogger. I just can't help but wonder if "someone" (such as Ms.Hunt) might have created the "Perky Penny" blogger to try to allay some of the doubts this obvious scam has raised in so many people.

If you are a real person, Ms. Penny, I hope that you can find a real job working for a legitimate company very soon. It doesn't sound as though you have any experience in marketing, tho'. If you knew the first thing about such work you'd have realized that marketing people are all about the "info". They're the life blood of any legitimate company. They know not only the company's products, but the company itself. In fact, marketing provides the "human element" for a company. You & the sales staff are the face of the company. No self-respecting marketing person OR salesperson would have stepped into this blog without defending the company via providing all of the answers to those very troubling questions.

Come on Ms. Hunt, or Mr. Carr, or whoever you are - don't take us all for schmucks.

Anonymous said...

Hi V,

Just checking back to see if the truth has been exposed yet.

Personal opinion: LCP has been creating work to create a "company presence" to gain investors who will be ripped off. I don't think they are planning to resell articles. They have a bigger scheme in the works.

Why create a website? Why hire graphic designers to make "pretend covers"? I am afraid my friends we were used to create work that will be used to scam others into investing. It is Quincy Carr's MO. Over and over. Use job boards to create work, never paying for it. Use work to get investors. I hope his rep on the Internet ruins his plans.

Anyway, I expect Hope will be emailing after the "magazine launch" that she didn't get paid.

Better luck to all, we deserved better. Maybe you can resell your articles after you don’t get paid and they breach the terms of the contract. I am glad there are blogs like this to warn others. I learned my lesson, thanks Quincy!

V, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever spoke to the famous Hope? Is it possible that Quincy is the ring leader and Hope is one of his many names?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Writers are still being contacted to write articles. I'm wondering what the pay off is if this is truly a scam. It seems that by now if they were a scam they would have hitailed it out of here but instead they are still responding to e-mail and requesting work.

ALC said...

I doubt very much that "Hope" has received threatening letters from writers. Granted, it is possible, but doubtful.

Personally, I believe that she used that excuse to pull her info off of this blog so that she could say that she was being "bullied" and, perhaps, for that reason was too frightened to bother to come back and provide actual answers to the questions which have been raised here.

IF (and that's a big IF) she is just a hired peon with no info, and IF she, like everyone else, is just waiting to be paid, then she's quite the fool to front for this Carr guy and take all of his flack.

The way the info is stacked, I am assuming that she is just as big a con as the Carr guy (if she is a real person and not just some other persona he or his con cohorts dreamed up).

I agree with annonymous that all of the other cons attached to this scam are probably an elaborate ruse to dupe investors. Hopefully, if this happens, the Feds will get involved.

Penny said...

Wow. I thought twice about posting on this board and I now regret my decision. I didn’t think twice because I’m lying or have anything to hide, but because I’m not a blogger. I don’t get into any message boards and never have, so it is a bit odd for me to post.

I think it is ridiculous to have to defend myself on here. If you want to believe it is a scam, go for it. I’m not convinced it’s a scam, but I’m also not convinced its legit either. There are many things that do not add up for me, but I also can’t quite figure out what the scam is. As I said before, I am doing marketing work for them and I don’t know what value they could get out of scamming me. But I may just be naïve.

As for myself. I have a full-time marketing job for a bank. I have an MBA concentrated in marketing. I am a marketing professional. I took on this work for a couple of reasons. One, I like my day job, but banking isn’t the most exciting thing for me and I like to keep my skills fresh by working in other industries. It builds a good resume and may one day lead to another job. I live in a mid-sized town with limited marketing opportunities. Thus far, I have chosen to stay here, near my family and friends, and take a job below my potential. One day I may look to a bigger city for better work, but for now I do marketing on the side through the internet.

Second, I recently purchased a house and plan to get married soon. As most of you know this is an expensive time in life (well let’s be honest, what part of life isn’t expensive). Not that my financial situation is any of your concern, but I have student loans to pay off and I enjoy travel. I am a hard-worker so I enjoy both the challenge and extra income that contract work provides me.

I found the job through guru.com. As I said before, I am not a writer and am fairly new to doing contract work, but I find guru to be a legit site.

By no means was I defending Laray Carr in my original post. Just offering additional insight from a different point of view. It seems like it has been a lot of the same. Until I get paid, I cannot vouch for the company’s legitimacy. But until I don’t get paid, I cannot say it is a scam.

I don’t know a lot about the company background, and clearly you think that makes me a bad marketer. Maybe it does, glad you’re not my boss. I have been given MORE than enough information to do the assignments that were asked of me. Mostly research, media kits, content, and editing. Given the large amount of questions on this board, I probably should have asked more questions. Live and learn.

Anyway, as I said I’m just being cautiously optimistic. I don’t really have anything to lose except for the time wasted if this is a scam. If it is legit, I will have some extra money and hopefully an opportunity to continue working in an industry that appeals to me, but that I cannot work with in my hometown.

Now, as for my profile. I have no clue when it was created. I must have looked at something on here at some point in the past because when I tried to post a comment from my home computer it already said ‘from penny’. I am at work now, so I’m not sure if it will say my name or not.

Yes, I am a perky up beat person. I will not apologize if that is offensive. I think it is sad that you read my post and thought the worst. I do my best to think the best of people. Maybe one day I will be as distrusting as you, but I certainly hope not.

As I have said over and over, but to be certain my point is heard: I was doing NOTHING but offering ANOTHER point of view. I thought that was what the forum was for. If I had any answers that would ease all of the worried minds, I would give them, but I don’t. I have just completed the tasks asked of me and hoped for the money. I DO NOT KNOW if Laray Carr is a scam or if it is legit. I am still being cautiously optimistic. It is a waiting game now. Until my contracted pay date, there is nothing I can do but hope.

Victoria Strauss said...

Penny, I appreciate your comments. I welcome all points of view, and I'm glad to have your perspective.

In my opinion, it's too early to be crying "scam". Despite the stuff that doesn't add up, my sense is still that Laray Carr is simply a spectacularly ill-advised and poorly-planned business venture--not to mention, insufficiently professional. Count the errors on the Laray Carr Company Information page.

Anonymous said...

I recently contacted "Hope Hunt" who is supposed to be "Director of Communications" and inquired about the background of the company, a website, anything that proved the identity of Laray Carr and received an antagonistic reponse that "She did not have time to deal with questions, as her role was limited." Then why are you posting jobs? Later a gentleman by the name of "Dean" whom is also in Corporate Communications and sounded very unintelligent contacted me, but yet...did not provide any information. The company is "scheduled" to put out 37 publications next month. Holding my breath with my thumb up my ass.

Shit Floats, Not Hope.

emile said...

In the "Deeper Meanings" department, the LCP Web page labeled "Mission Statement" is blank, according to my browser. Does this mean that, in terms of their dealings with unsuspecting writers, they are taking a missionary position?

Anonymous said...

I'm just getting started freelance writing and have been hearing back from a few places. Unfortunately, LCP was one of the first places I sent materials off to, and the experience has left me pretty paranoid. Are there any things I should look for to insure that I don't (possibly) get ripped off again? I feel like I probably can't expect every place I write to to post their articles of incorporation as someone suggested. Is a website enough? Should I ask for some print copy of the materials? I don't want to sound pushy, but at the same time, I really don't want this sort of thing to happen again.

ALC said...

I thought that you might be interested in this little tid-bit. I was perusing the LCP website (most of which is down for maintenance or "under construction" and found this page:

Circulation Overview



Circulation and Distribution are the legs that keep our publications running out to consumers. Wonderful magazines can go completely unread because of poor circulation and distribution planning.



Our circulation for each magazine title is controlled to provide a more effective exposure to readers who enjoy our publications.



PUBLICATION READERSHIP CIRCULATION

[Note that the first number listed after each title is supposed to represent the "readership" & the second number is supposed to represent the "circulation" of each title. Pretty amazing numbers for magazines that don't actually exist, don't you think?]

AMATEUR GOLFER 600,000 75,000
AMERICAN FAMILY 3.3 MM 110,000
AMERICAN WOMAN 4.5 MM 150,000
CAST & REEL 700,000 50,000
CENTERSTAGE 1.4 MM 100,000
CERTIFIED 950,000 75,000
CLAWS & PAWS 1.1 MM 85,000
COLOR SPLASH 2.9 MM 75,000
CONSUMER INSIGHT 3 MM 85,000
CHILD FITNESS 5.5 MM 100,000
CUTLERY 650,000 75,000
DELICISO 1 MM 85,000
ESPECIA 2 MM 115,000
FOODIE 2.5 MM 155.000
GAME ON 1.7 MM 95,000
INSHAPE 500,000 95,000
MEN'S AVENUE 750,000 100,000
MOMMY & ME 800,000 105,000
ORGANIC LIVING 945,000 125,000
POPULAR TRAVEL 600,000 85,000
SATIRE 1.2 MM 85,000
SCOPE & BARREL 550,000 70,000
SHAKE'EM 450,000 75,000
SHOWSTOPPER 2.2 MM 90,000
SIMPLE ENTERTAINING 2.7 MM 100,000
SIMPLE HOUSEHOLD LIVING 2 MM 100,000
SMALL BUSINESS ILLUSTRATED 5 MM 105,000
SMALL BUSINESS ILLUSTRATED BUDGET & SAVE 3.5 MM 75,000
SPORTS DIGEST 3.2 MM 100,000
SPREE 1.4 MM 102,000
STYLE + GRACE 1.2 MM 105,000
TEXAN 850,000 100,000
TRICKED 745,000 110,000
TWENTY SOMETHING 2.6 MM 125,000
URGE 900,000 100.000
URBAN BRIDE 1.3 MM 105,000
URBAN FLAIR 2 MM 105,000
URBAN WEDDINGS 950,000 85,000
WEBPRENEUR 2.5 MM 115,000
WINE DIGEST 4.5 MM 130,000

[This is in the section of the website geared toward investors & advertisers. It boggles the mind to think that there MIGHT actually be any such creatures out there who would willingly dole out money to any of these "Publications" without first investigating to find out whether or not any of them actually exist. Personally, I just don't see it happening from an 'investor' side, but there may be plenty of small-time entrepreneurs out there looking for venues to advertise their product/service who might get snookered by a page like this that shows falsified stats for non-existent publications.]

ALC said...

Actually, some of these titles sound vaguely familiar. I think they've either made minor adjustments to actual magazine titles and called them their own, OR they've swiped some of this info from legitimate publications so that when someone looks to invest or advertise with them they'll come across an actual website for the real magazine & mistake these clowns for the owners.

ALC said...

These are other excerpts from the website that give the illusion that the business is not only up and running, but that it has been for some time:

Marketing success at Laray Carr is a direct result of our innovative approach to relating with our customers.
[How can you declare "SUCCESS" for something that hasn't even happened????]

We research our distribution network on top of our distribution partners to ensure our magazines reach readers in the areas where readership is at it’s highest.
[Where would that be??? In some alternate universe where the publications already exist, perhaps????]

We offer distribution services to small market publications. Through our extensive distribution network we can place small publications just starting out into retail locations otherwise not assessable. We also provide marketing programs to better aid in advertising generation, readership development, and circulation management.
[AH HA!!! Trying to con new start-ups into using your non-existent "services."]

For more information about how our distribution services can aid in your publication development contact us.
[There is no glorious Distribution system. They don't even have any publications to distribute!!!]


We hold high standards for editorial quality. With over 40 subscription magazines we do just that. From popular titles Foodie, American Family, Webprenuer, Urban Bride, American Woman, and Child Fitness, and many more
[Popular titles???? How can a non-existent magazine already be a "popular title"????]

Because we strive to understand our readers as much as possible, advertising with Laray Carr is not a shot in the dark. We intimately understand every niche audience we serve and we actively seek feedback to help us continuously improve our content to make sure we’re hitting our readers’ sweet spots.
[You strive to understand your "readers"??? What readers????]

Our You 365 Program, is an industry-leading integrated marketing program.
[Industry-leading????]

Now for the first time advertisers can login to the network, check future issues, reserve spots for special issues, purchase advertising space, check invoices, pay bills, and even subscribe to publications.
[For the first time???? Really???]

For more information on our advertising services to maximize your business exposure to over 50 million diversified readership base and over 100 million consumer’s nationwide please contact us.
[What readership???? You haven't even published anything yet??????]

Okay ... nevermind the whole writers aspect of this scam. I'm sorry, Victoria, but when a so-called business posts falsified information to mis-represent their very existence ... I'm going with BIG, FAT SCAM.

Maybe it wasn't writers they were trying to dupe. Maybe the whole investor, advertiser, new start-up magazine won't you please allow us to take your money and provide you with NOTHING in return as we suddenly disappear into the night service - was the real angle.

But, yyyeeesh this "company" is a real piece of work.

And, the typos, poor grammar and outright misspellings (hey, it's okay for me, I'm just blogging) on a "Publishing" business's website ... come on.

Gregory Ludwig said...

Regarding the circulation figures noted immediately above: It is not implausible that this is a business trying to launch, and not a simple scam. The distribution side of things may be that deals are in the works with one or more magazine distributors (like Kable News, and/or whoever is around today). As I noted above in one of my entries, a magazine publisher can be primarily about lining up distribution deals, if the money and other business prerequisites are there, but the actual magazine content can be an afterthought, or intentionally banal just to have also-ran mags on the stands (for whatever purpose). Also, the magazine publisher I worked for in 1990-91 was not above falsifying some circulation figures for advertisers. In fact, a different publisher, in Long Island (who I think was a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which I think initiated legal action here), got in trouble for falsifying circulation figures some years ago (the pub'r was charged with fraud, or something like that). And the readership versus actual circulation is not atypical of marketing approaches to promoting magazines to advertisers. In this particular case, there might be a little too much wishful thinking, if not marketing woolly-headedness, in the marketing plan. Bottom line: I am not trying to dignify this venture--but I don't think it is necessarily a scam but, as evidence suggests so far, a not very smart business plan.

Anonymous said...

The website is down!

Anyway, who would invest in a company that uses "realations" to attract financial backing. Please tell me a publication house uses spell check (yes Quincy, your sham website contains lots of spelling errors).

Alc pointed out they were using a U 365 marketing program. They “borrowed” the 360 marketing term from Meredith.

http://www.meredith.com/marketing_solutions/360.

(Hey Quincy, Hope Meredith goes after you!)

I still maintain Quincy Carr is a FRAUD!!

I am not a writer, but it seems really odd that a magazine would be willing to take a hodgepodge assortment of articles. No topic direction whatsoever.

Also, if they are going to press again in October, wouldn't they be requesting more articles for next month. (**Okay Quincy, now's it’s time to send out emails as "Roger" asking for new articles. It makes your company look legit.**)

I find it funny that Quincy spends time reading this blog and then “adjusting” the website to cover his mistakes. I hope he goes to the slammer.

Anonymous said...

P.S.
I contacted the registered agent for LarayCarr.com and they said they would sell the domain for $450. What company would register a .net when they could buy the .com site? A big NO NO in the marketing world.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous 9/12/07 6:00 PM wrote:

Are there any things I should look for to insure that I don't (possibly) get ripped off again?

There's a great post on spotting scammers at Deborah Ng's Freelance Writing Jobs website that offers suggestions about this.

Victoria Strauss said...

For a brief period, when the Laray Carr website was visible (as of this writing, it's down for maintenance again), there was an animation on its opening page that cycled through the magazine covers.

I have to admit, they looked pretty professional, with feature articles covering actual celebrities such as Teri Hatcher. I imagine that people could have been commissioned some time ago to create a real lead article, with photos, for each magazine (which might explain why one of the magazines featured has-been celeb Lindsay Lohan)--and the scramble that started in August was to find filler to bulk up the rest of the pages. I don't know what printers' lead times are, but soliciting articles in August for an October launch seems like cutting it pretty close. Not to mention the issue of quality, which is likely take a beating (to say the least) in the desperation for filler.

Scam or not, the more we find out about this thing, the more outlandish it gets.

Anonymous said...

Hi V,
Your assuming the 'covers' in the website were real. They were not. Just look alikes created for advertising measures. Not to be used for print. LCP did not own the rights to the photots.
OOPS!

Victoria Strauss said...

Update: the LCP website is still "down for maintenance," but most of it is still accessible via the sitemap. All you need to do to realize this isn't a professional operation is to look at the bad writing, not to mention the spelling errors and typos that litter the text.

The conversation continues at Deborah Ng's website. See especially this interesting comment from a graphic artist, which supports the anonymous comment above about the magazine covers being bogus.

Putting Quincy Carr's apparent previous dubious activities together with the emphasis on investor relations at the LCP website (including the extremely fake-looking magazine circulation figures), I'm starting to think that the LCP website may be investor bait, and that the articles the company has been soliciting are solely for the purpose of adding verisimilitude to the website.

Anonymous said...

Hi V,

I think you have it right.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they will ever go to print. And never intended to. They have been pushing back the launch date since June. Depending on the contract with each person, it might mean they don't owe anyone money (at launch was stated for payment date in most contracts).

Victoria Strauss said...

Laray Carr's website is live at another URL: http://ttavibro.com/laray/

I did a websearch on Laray Carr earlier today and didn't find this, so it must just have happened

Here's the Whois info for that URL. The registrant is in India--interestingly, though, the IP address is in Texas.

Victoria Strauss said...

Looking at the press releases on the new Laray Carr website...one mentions an "multi-year" printing deal with Oblec Printing Company. Another mentions a 5-year distribution deal with Distror.

Sounds impressive, but there's just one problem. I searched in multiple ways on both those company names, and couldn't find a single thing on either one of them, apart from the references on LCP's website.

Gregory Ludwig said...

Re Victoria's Sept. 19 3:11 p.m. entry, where she references a graphic artist at another blog, I have this to say: A company that makes strong-arming use of the concept of confidentiality as LCP does is not much worth working for. I have an interesting anecdote about a media outfit I did work for in July that made rather paranoid use of a confidentiality agreement (there were tough, rather overreaching terms before I had any idea of the specific work and without any official agreement yet regarding pay, though after all was said and done I did get paid for the work, but stopped working for the company). I won't describe the anecdote further here, though I could reference a Word-doc Web site that recounts it. But I've been starting to think--not just from the particular instance I just noted--that the issue of the confidentiality agreement means the person requiring it is overwhelmingly interested in his or her rights to the exclusion of yours, if indeed it isn't a simple means of bullying.
This Laray Carr scheme looks dubious indeed.

Anonymous said...

Has ANYONE been paid from them yet? It's the actual launch date and not a peep from LPC.

Anonymous said...

QUINCY LARAY CARR (Age: 27)
BIRTH DATE: 10/31/1979

151 MEADOWVIEW CT #APT 402
TERRELL, TX 75160

MEADOWVIEW CT
TERRELL, TX 75160

405 NEWTON ST W #00000
TERRELL, TX 75160

405 W NEWTON ST #00000
TERRELL, TX 75160

873 RELLIA DR
TERRELL, TX 75160

TERRELL, TX 75160

OFFENSE
Court Name COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT 2
Case Number M-9222854 - Confirm Case # M-9222854 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00033985332
Offense Date 03/19/1992
Offense UCW
Offense Class A
Arrest Agency TX0570800
Disposition Date 06/30/1993
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT 2
Case Number M-9222854 - Confirm Case # M-9222854 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00033985331
Offense Date 03/19/1992
Offense UCW
Offense Class A
Arrest Agency TX0570800
Disposition Date 06/18/1992
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT 2
Case Number M-9206014 - Confirm Case # M-9206014 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00033928871
Offense Date 06/27/1992
Offense THEFT 200
Offense Class A
Arrest Agency TX0571500
Disposition Date 11/13/1992
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS 1
Case Number M-05A6831 - Confirm Case # M-05A6831 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00026099241
Offense Date 06/29/2004
Offense FTA
Offense Class C
Arrest Agency TX057183J
Disposition Date 10/26/2005
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS 1
Case Number M-05A6123 - Confirm Case # M-05A6123 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00026094351
Offense Date 01/29/2004
Offense FMFR
Offense Class C
Arrest Agency TX057183J
Disposition Date 10/27/2005
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name 204TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
Case Number F-9231168 - Confirm Case # F-9231168 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00021135601
Offense Date 06/27/1992
Offense THEFT 200/MISD
Arrest Agency TX0571500
Arrest Date 07/03/1992
Disposition Date 07/28/1992
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS 1
Case Number M-05A6123 - Confirm Case # M-05A6123 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00013736611
Offense Date 01/29/2004
Offense FMFR
Offense Class C
Arrest Agency TX057183J
Disposition Date 10/27/2005
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS 1
Case Number M-05A6831 - Confirm Case # M-05A6831 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00006666101
Offense Date 06/29/2004
Offense FTA
Offense Class C
Arrest Agency TX057183J
State Code TX

OFFENSE
Court Name COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS 1
Case Number M-05A6123 - Confirm Case # M-05A6123 at the Court House
Offense ID TX_DALLAS00004968941
Offense Date 01/29/2004
Offense FMFR
Offense Class C
Arrest Agency TX057183J
State Code TX

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous, I've re-posted your comment exactly as you wrote it, but with the phone numbers redacted.

That's a considerable list of offenses. Translating the rap sheet-ese, it includes: unlawful carrying of a weapon (UCW), theft of property under $200 (THEFT 200), failure to appear for trial (FTA), and failure to maintain financial responsibility (FMFR).

There's just one problem. Quincy Carr of Terrell, TX, is listed as being 27 (I've confirmed this via Intelius). But the incident dates for UCW and theft are in 1992, when he'd have been 13 (the rest of the offenses are dated 2004). Unless I'm mistaken, juvenile offense records aren't available to the general public in Texas. Not knowing how Anonymous obtained the information posted above, I'm wondering whether the 1992 offenses and the 2004 offenses involved different Quincy Carrs.

Anonymous said...

I'm contacting Craig's List, Guru.com and the Better Business Bureau, and a lawyer to get this Laray Carr exposed--either as a fraud, or as a very ill-advised business venture.

-Anonymous

Anonymous said...

The links on the Web site do not work; it's a one-page storefront Roger put up to try and make himself look legitimate. We should all collectively push to either sue or to at least have him banned from doing this to others on guru and craig's list. I am willing to "join forces" to get that done. All the editors and writers should at least contact guru and Craig's list about this scam so they are at least aware it's more than just one person getting screwed.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is overlooking one thing here. The contract plainly states no payment until published. If they don't publish they have no responsibility to pay and therefore have done nothing legally wrong. Unfortunately, no one bothered to question the omittance of a kill fee until it was too late. From what I've heard, they are still moving towards a release date but whether they will ever get there remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

V,

I have left Deb's blog because of the attacking of posters looking for the truth. This is sad and unfortunate.

In a past life, almost a decade ago, I worked for a law enforcement agency and have maintained contacts there. I spoke one today and they had some interesting things to point out, perhaps things I overlooked.

My contact in law enforcement said that juvenile’s can given adult charges under certain circumstances. For example, the person has a long juvie history (none of which we would ever be able to find out) and start to get charged as an adult for repeat offenses. The person was on probation and told the past offenses would be moved to his adult record should he violate probation. Multiple others, who knows. Important to note: the records pulled were by name and dob. Not just name. (This was provided to me by a Quincy insider.)

I have had alot of time to think on things today. Good chats with old friends do help sort the mind. I have a bit of a different perspective on things. One I will not share on a post because I am certain Quincy Carr himself looks at the blog. I would be more than happy to send you an email with these thoughts. I think they are important to keep quiet in order for officials to investigate the situation.

Anyway, my email is the only one posted on Deb's blog. Shoot me something and I will reply.

Deb said...

Anonymous,

No one is being attacked on my blog. Questions are being asked, because if you're the same anon as on my blog, you keep coming back and giving conflicting stories.

If you're the same anon as on my blog, you're spending time and money trying to find out about Quncy Carr and then posting the info on my blog encouraging, no inciting others to take action, but you won't take action yourself. I didn't attack you but I did question you - as did others.

I don't mind a discussion regarding Laray Carr - I do mind a witch hunt. We don't know yet if it's a scam. Until we do, I'm trying to proceed with caution. After all, it's not your reputation that's at stake.

Anonymous said...

Deb,

Go back and read comments on your blog re: LCP. Maybe you have short term memory. They are published for you to reread. Time and time again there were cases where people felt personally attacked by other bloggers ON YOUR SITE. Whether you agree with their feelings or not. It happened. Not just to me. Hope, Stephanie, Alicia, and others.

Here is how I feel about your actions and your blog. The following business day after you pulled your "Not to name names" business, the paypal payment in my account was redacted.

So, as I requested before and you continue to disrespect all my requests, GOODBYE DEB.

Katharine Swan said...

Just wanted to say that Deb is right. No one is being attacked on her blog. Anyone can see that for themselves by readingthe comments on this post.

As another Anonymous has pointed out, there is no legal recourse for most of the writers at this point, because they agreed to getting paid when the magazines are launched. Of course, that doesn't mean that the operation is legitimate, but it does mean that the writers can't do anything to demand payment unless (or until) their work is actually used elsewhere.

If Deb's Anon has been telling the truth, she actually has more options for legal recourse than anyone else: She was supposed to be paid when she turned over the work on the website, but when she demanded payment she was paid from a PayPal account that had apparently been hacked. Payment was, of course, reversed, and she has not been able to get LCP to pay her for real.

If Anon is telling the truth, that means she actually has a case, something the writers lack at this point. Yet, as Deb pointed out, she is trying to get others to make phone calls and turn Quincy Carr in to the police, rather than doing it herself. She claims she wouldn't know what to say, when it's quite obvious she would have plenty to say.

IF she is telling the truth, of course.

Katharine Swan said...

Anonymous, do NOT blame Deb for your payment problems. If the PayPal account that paid you was hacked by an unauthorized user -- which is what you claimed on Deb's blog -- nothing she said or did would have had an impact on what happened.

Katharine Swan said...

I also wanted to comment on the others that Anon claims were attacked on Deb's blog.

Hope came onto the thread and made some thinly veiled libel accusations. I'll admit I pretty much told her off, but it was because I felt her accusations had no basis. The writer in question was merely expressing some concerns about the validity of the operation.

Stephanie came onto the thread, pretty much defending the company but claiming she wasn't. She also said she had information about the company's owner -- whom she claimed was an ex-NFL player (obviously now a lie) -- but refused to give any information out. She claimed LCP was not her client but also claimed she had signed a nondisclosure with them. With all of the conflicting information she gave, we had a lot of questions for her, as you can probably imagine. She didn't take kindly to being questioned.

Alicia got on the thread to give us information about Quincy Carr, whom she says she knows personally. I don't believe Alicia was ever attacked in any way. Deb did ask why her email address was under a different name, and she responded that it was her daughter's email address. She has posted since then, as well.

I don't know who the "others" are that Anon mentioned, but I would be happy to share the situation if Anon would say who she is talking about. And of course, anyone can read the thread for themselves.

No one has been attacked on Deb's blog, but questions HAVE been asked. Nothing wrong with that.

Victoria Strauss said...

I agree, Katherine and Deb. What I've seen at Deb's blog--and also here--are questions, not attacks. Sure, some of the questions have been sharp, and skepticism is running high. But IMO, this is appropriate. There are so many theories and accusations flying around, not to mention unsourced information, that I think a certain amount of skepticism for ANY claim made about LCP makes sense at this point.

Anonymous said...

These two threads as well as others have been dabated back and forth for a month or more with little concrete evidence and much incomplete information. As the time came and went for the original release date Im sure many people are at their witts end trying to remain openminded while faced with an overwhelming amount of negative tidbits.
I think it's only natural for some people to seek solace in the company of others involved. While some seek refuge others need answers and pick at details to get things straight in their mind. This type of forum caters to discussion and everyone participating has some interest in the LCP topic, whether it personally involves them or not. For the ones personally involved, be prepared to stand up for yourself and don't rely on a group effort to come to your aid, take advice but don't rely entirely on what others say. I'm sure we all hope LCP is legit and manages to pull things together and release their now 40 magazines, but if they don't consider your course of action and be prepared for either outcome.

Micah Reeves said...

I will say also that I don't see the attacking on Deb's blog. So many of us, including myself, want answers. For most of us, nothing can be done at this time because nothing illegal has taken place. It's a waiting game. I hope it turns out positive for us writers.

It's horrible that you have not been paid Anon.

Keiz said...

Hi Everyone.
I’ve been following both this and Deb’s blogs for a while. I didn’t post because I didn’t have anything important to add really. You, guys, did a great job. Well, maybe some of you got a bit carried away :)

Now I feel compelled to share my story with LCP. I post as Keiz but my real name is Jordan Ignatov. I was one of the art directors supposed to do layout for seven of the magazines, mostly the ones in women’s interest (including Satire with fake L. Lohan on cover) I was recruited through GURU and I have to say it all seemed quite legit and professional in the beginning. I thought “wow, these Americans are always so big :). We here struggle for a year to launch a single magazine and these blokes launch 35 (that’s how much they were back then in July) for six weeks!!!” But I didn’t think it’s impossible. And besides I thought it would be mostly low market local publications, that’s why they recruit freelancers. You have to agree, if you’re planning to hit nationwide you have to have a proper office and hundreds of in-house staff.

We signed a pretty standard contract, also stating that payment will occur 15 days net after launch. I wasn’t happy with the Invoicing system, I’d rather have it via Escrow retainer, but... OK. Money was OK too (for Eastern Europe) $1k per publication. So I started waiting for the GO. Even postponed my vacation at the beach.
After a month of waiting and sharing updates I realized they are not as well prepared as they should be and, actually, I feel a little guilty for giving them good advice on how to organize this project. I had no idea they would use that advice to make the scam look legit. Roger promised to supply all I needed and we started on August 23rd. That’s when all the trouble began.

“OK gimme those images and articles and let’s do it.”
“Err,,. Images, right, hold on a minute.” The minute turned out to be two weeks long. By the end of that minute (part of which I spent at the Black sea) came a weekly update that stated ADs should be working on templates until text and images arrive. I’d already done those... All the rest is delays and evasive answers. As I realized they do not have contracts with image banks and texts are far from ready I grew suspicious and googled around, found the blogs and it all started making sense. In the beginning it wasn’t very clear it is a con and with my enthusiasm gone I thought I’d finish this as well as I can, take the money and leave. How silly of me!
I was given an FTP access to... empty folders. The only time that Hope actually replied to repeated e-mails, she told me there is a problem with the images and if they do not appear in the folders by 24 hours I should contact her. That was completely different from what Roger told me. It’s important to coordinate the lies when you’re doing a con. Straighten your stories, please :)
Images didn’t appear and I never heard from Hope again. I noticed that LCP attitude was changing according to the posts in both blogs - web site disappeared and reappeared, info was changed etc. I started sharing the link with the writers and other ADs and this is where I need to thank Stephanie for telling Roger I had read the posts. It really helped clear my relationship with Roger. :)
I pity you Stephanie. I read your posts. You’re either being conned or... you are a part of the con. I can’t imagine a person with so much experience with publishing (couldn’t help noticing the self advertising notes) could fall for this so... What’s happened? Deadline is Oct 1st and there are NO images. Do you think you can produce some 20 magazines for a week? (Oh yeah, she’s not only consulting, she’s actually doing most of the magazines.)
Also Susan Campbell. You told Roger I sent you the link, didn’t you? Go on, work harder! You might get paid. I can’t believe I gave you advice how to build a magazine.

On Sep 18th I received an other ridiculous update stating that no one gets paid until there is a finished product on Oct 1st (originally Sep 20th, then changed to Oct 5th). We should all get to work and finish this (no images yet) otherwise poor Roger wouldn’t get paid either. I cannot describe the language it was written. I’m a Bulgarian and I spoke English like that in 4th grade :) This guy is so illiterate!

When Roger (I keep calling him that) realized I know about the blogs he started threatening me with “legal” actions. I pissed myself laughing. Wake up, boy, I’m in Europe! And then suddenly, by the powerful laws of Texas and with the all fury of Federal law he... banned me from the chat!.. I was devastated! :)
And that’s about it, I never heard from LCP again. That was Monday I guess.

Most of the concerned here are writers who expect a launch to happen so there’s at least some chance of payment. In my opinion there will be no launch. It was never intended. They might produce one or two hard copies (probably Stephanie’s doing those :) just to impress naive investors and advertisers, but they will never go to market. Also, someone posted some info that the company does not appear to be registered anywhere. This also means that ALL CONTRACTS ARE INVALID. Perhaps you all still own your articles as you sold them to... no one :) I hope it is like this.

Anyway, I hope it all ends well for everyone except for the scammer. I’ve given up hoping for money. I have seven brilliant templates which I intend to use in the future. All I lost was my nerves and some valuable time I could have used better. But I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll be more careful in the future.
Good luck to everyone!

Jordan

Victoria Strauss said...

Jordan, thanks so much for such a detailed and informative comment.

Keiz said...

It’s a bit long, really ;) but I was trying reach people who still believe this is not a scam and could actually work out.
I think LCP are quite scared of the whole blog thing and problems with freelance staff (I hope I’ve caused some!), and are trying to shut it off.
Besides I think they’ve already made some money from advertisers and all.

Hey Rog, try using the spell check, mate, You don’t have to embarrass yourself like that :)

Anonymous said...

Jordan-

Thanks for the comment. I hope those templates go to good use, and I'm sorry it didn't work out. Please do not think all Texans are like that! =)

As for us writers, we should all hang it up. I am glad this happened as it woke me up quickly.

Genesis said...

I would like to add my sordid story to the rest. :D I had no inkling of all this until tonight. Yesterday, I sent a rather nasty email to Hope because she had not answered two emails inquiring about the status of my payment.

Originally, I did 10 articles for LCP. Then I was asked to take on more, choosing my own topics (the first ones were from a list of titles). And I selected another ten. She wrote back saying that some of the topics had been filled and I could only take five. This went back and forth until we settle d on 8 that I could do.

Once I had sent everything in, I expected to hear that some needed editing, since they had been written under a very tight deadline and were not top quality. Nothing. The guidelines said that writers had to have proof of where they got the info, I did not send that, there was nothing said.

When I wrote to ask if the check could be made out to my husband, as I´m an expat living in Guatemala and have no bank account here, she said she had been authorized to pay me through PayPal. So I gave her my PP address and waited. When I wrote asking if she had received the info, there was no reply. After Sept. 20, the supposed pay date had gone by, I sent another email. Nothing.

Then I got mad. I spent the better part of a month writing those articles and while $50 is not a lot for most, it goes a very long way here in Guatemala. As in finishing my house, paying for food for six to seven months, etc. So it is no small loss.

Now I come across this discussion and I´m very disappointed in myself. I had a bad feeling about this, but went ahead because I desperately needed the money. Really, our instincts are right and I will certainly be listening to mine in the future!

In the meantime, anyone know where we should try selling these articles? :D I´m not worried about legal action, I don´t think this "company" has a leg to stand on, and I do want to make something off my articles! Anyway, just thought I´d add my two cents.

Oh, and I would also like to encourage people to let others know that this whole thing is under scrutiny. I´ve written a post and put it on both my blogs. As I write for wahms, I feel it is important that this information be out there, readily available for anyone to see, especially if the company is still looking for writers! Let´s not let anyone else get hooked into their scheme.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong. You DO have legal recourse. A company cannot state you get paid only when completed, but then do everything in its power to set you up to fail. This company set us up to fail. I warned "Roger" from day one that my magazines required real writers, and he assured me I'd get real writers. Not once did I have access to a real writer. He hired lay people for $25 or so to plagiarize (I can prove that) from the Internet. I had a group of technology and business-oriented magazines that were to compete with "Business Week" and "Wired" as he said. Roger lured me in with promises of real writers, and you cannot get real writers for those prices. I said it from the getgo. We would all have legal recourse if we all collectively did a class action suit.

-SS

Anonymous said...

I have contacted the police in Terrell TX to see if there is a "publishing" company at the given address.

972 551 6622
Sergeant Ken McCann

Again, writers of experience and quality do not write 2,000 word articles for 50 dollars, much less $25, which goes to show we were set up to fail when this guy hired people for that amount. Each editor loses thousands of dollars if not paid. I'm going to sue the pants off this guy if I can. I have every email he ever wrote me with all the false promises and false info. Not once did I get a list of writers' names and contact info despite my requests so that I could "edit" and get follow-up info. I didn't even have bylines for the "articles."

I also couldn't get a straight answer about an address to which I could send papers.

If this isn't a scam, I don't know what is. Even if some of you get paid, there are those of us who will not, because we could never "finish" what we had been asked to do. I can't run high-tech articles that are plagiarized by laypeople.

-SS

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement when you noted that real writers wouldn't work for this amount. I consider myself a "real writer" college degree credentials and all, but just began so my price is low. If we pull the article and sell it elsewhere, with notification to the corporation, besides sue, what else can they do? The articles were to be published in August. If they haven't been published they must not be acceptable (Dang I wish I had spell check) so wouldn't they revert back to us with notification to the publisher?

Anonymous said...

My biggest worry was supplying a W-9 with a social security number. Which I did not do.

Anonymous said...

Here is a letter that was an "auto-reply" indicating hundreds of inquiries must have been sent.
Thank you for contacting me regarding Laray Carr Publications. If you
are inquiring about payment for the launch issue, please be patient,
as soon as I know something concrete, I will let you know. I am not
going to keep responding to the daily or twice daily emails from
certain writers. When I hear, you will hear.

At this time, we are still working on the launch issues so articles
for the future issues are still in a holding pattern.

I appreciate your patience and rest assured I will respond to you.

Our corporate site is set to launch so please check it out:
www.laraycarr.net!

Thank you!

~hope

--
Hope Hunt
Director of Publishing Communication
Laray Carr Publications

Erin said...

So, I held off submitting a comment on this until now because, well, as it turns out I was really naive in hoping I would still be paid. I've been following this ordeal for the last couple of days and decided to write to my contact (the now infamous Hope Hunt) and ask about when to expect my payment. Up until now she has always been really nice to me. She had written that she was impressed with the first eight articles I sent in and then asked me to do another SEVEN, which I did.

Tangent: I know I was being severely underpaid for the amount of work I was doing. But, since I'm still new to anything that isn't blogging, I went into this more as a portfolio building enterprise than a making tons of money enterprise.

Anyway, When I moved a couple of weeks ago, she (Hope) promised to forward my new mailing address to the HR people so I wouldn't have to wait for my check. Anyway, I wrote her a quick (and friendly!) note saying that I just wanted to double check and make sure that my address got changed at HR and said that I had seen on the internet that the launch date had gotten pushed back and some people were experiencing problems with the company. I explained that I wasn't trying to be accusatory, that I just wanted to double check on the situation because, you know, I have bills to pay after all :)

I just now heard back from her. Her email, copy and pasted, said this:

Attached is the letter from the Laray Carr Company regarding the status of all articles, contracts and payment for freelance writers.

If you would like to be considered as a writer for any one of the Laray Carr magazines, please contact Shadra Bruce, Executive Director of Editorial & Publication Development at desertchild71@yahoo.com as she will now be handling the freelance writers and their contracts.

I regret the way this has turned out for those who worked so hard on their articles and continued to be supportive of the Laray Carr project, and wish you the very best of luck.

~hope


The attached letter? Well it's dated today, Sept 25, and says that unfortunately they will not be using any of the FIFTEEN articles I sent in almost two months ago because they weren't up to the company standards. It then invites me to try again and reiterates that they will not be using any of the work I've turned in so far.

Oh and the letter is signed by a Dean S. Person but the contract I signed and sent in listed David Person. Now each name has a different title, but what are the odds, right?

In a way, this is good news. I'm proud of the articles I wrote and this letter means that I can still try to sell them elsewhere or turn them into smaller pieces. At least I hope that's what it means.

In another way, though, this sucks. That's a lot of money that I had been counting on for paying bills and stuff.

Sucky company taking advantage of an eager-to-please newbie. :(

Katharine Swan said...

Check out the thread at Deb's blog, Erin. It sounds like everyone just got the same letter.

Since you got it too, the "rejections" were not directed solely at those who had blogged or commented on threads about LCP.

I'd Google for your articles occasionally, just in case the "rejection" was just to throw you off the scent.

Anonymous said...

I've read over everything, and I cannot believe that I may have started this...

I believe I was the first one to contact Victoria Strauss, and unfortunately, still wrote three articles for LCP before she had a chance to respond to me.

What I still find disturbing about the situation is that even though my instincts were right, I still wrote for pennies because I want to be a writer. Desperately.

Also, Hope Hunt's tone throughout her emails made the situation feel like a done-deal. I initially questioned her about the company and payment, and she reassured me through email that I had been "assigned" these articles; therefore, they would be published, and I would be paid.

Next, I received emails from Hope requesting more articles, but I awaited payment instead. I didn't want to make the same mistake twice.

Then today I received the rejection email everyone seems to have gotten. To me, this is a breach of contract. I have many saved emails from Hope Hunt, emails that can serve as evidence in a court room. We had written, dated correspondence that clarified the terms in the contract, and any judge would clearly see that LCP breached their written promises.

LCP can't even decide to reject me on the quality of my work. Hope sent me the following email on Sept. 10, 2007. This email serves as proof that according to LCP, my work was up to their standards of publication.
_________________________________
Dear Writers:

Sorry for the mass mail to the six of you . . . yes, just six! One of my editors has selected you as her top picks for regular contributors and I wanted to see if you would be interested in doing a feature article for our launch issue of Texan....
__________________________________

(Did more than six writers receive this email? I'm curious...)

I've emailed their new spokesperson since Hope "has flown away" (Poe), but I'm so disgusted. I hate fighting for $150.00, but I believe in justice and the power of the written word.

Keep the comments coming...

Katharine Swan said...

Anonymous,

On the other thread, a woman who is working with the company informed me that out of all the articles submitted, "maybe 7" were that good, and that those writers were offered continuing work with the company.

Oddly, your story sounds as though you were one of the ones contacted...yet you were still sent a rejection letter.

So I am now wonder, who -- if anyone -- was offered continuing work and was NOT sent a rejection letter?

Katharine Swan said...

...now wondering, that is.

kathyneilsen said...

I too was contacted as one of the 6 writers. I asked Hope about that but got not reply.

Victoria Strauss said...

Could people who've gotten the latest letters from Hope (either the kiss-off or the come-on) please send me copies? My email address is beware@sfwa.org. All information shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence.

The story just gets weirder and weirder--but all of it is variations on a theme. Sounds to me like they are in deep doo-doo over at the steam cleaning office or wherever Laray Carr "headquarters" currently is.

Anonymous said...

Here is the letter I got.... after all articles were accepted and confirmed as satisfactory by Hope Hunt...

Julie-Ann
www.exquistewritng.com

Dear Writer,
On behalf of the Laray Carr Company, I would like to thank you for the article(s) you
have submitted to be published in our magazine publication(s).
Unfortunately, we will not be using your work in our publication(s) because of the
misunderstandings that arose in the current writers’ contract, and the contract’s
inability to express the clear operating terms for usage of articles submitted by
freelance or contributing writers.
To verify our working procedures, we abide by industry standards when working with
writers who submit article(s) for review to be published in any of our magazine
publications. I would like to clarify our policies and procedures for writers who choose
to submit articles to our company
�� All work must be authentic, well-researched, and original
�� Writers who submit articles to our company should also provide sources and
back ground information on article viability
�� If we decided to publish your article, you will be paid in full the amount agreed to
by the company and the writer (upon publication of the magazine).
�� Writers will receive credit (byline) in the magazine(s) for which they have written.
�� If we do not publish your article, the article will be destroyed and the writer will be
notified that the company will not use the submitted work.
�� Our company only owns rights to articles published and paid for – no exceptions.
�� Any articles not published or used by our company remain the sole property of
the writer. The writer retains all publication and copyright control of the work and
can be submitted to other publications. The company has no obligation to pay for
works not used under any circumstances.
We practice industry standards when dealing with all freelance writers who write for
our publications. Our policy assures that our editorial staff notifies all writers
regarding the acceptance or denial of article submissions.
Again, we will not be publishing the work you have submitted prior to this date. If you
have interest in writing for our company or any of our publications in the future, feel
free to contact us anytime.
Sincerely,
Dean S. Person
VP of Corporate Development

Anonymous said...

From the other side of the coin...

I am involved with this company too and had to work with some of the articles received, and I must admit, some were atrocious. I received articles with very basic spelling errors, grammar mistakes, no formatting, incorrect abbreviations (with recipes and words), and UK English. Several of the articles I received were obviously written by someone who used English as a second language...subpar indeed. There were some great articles, too, however, but there were more awful ones than great ones.

So, at least the writers have recourse and can re-sell their work since it isn't being used. The editors are out several thousand dollars for lost time, with nothing to show if they aren't paid for the work.

I'm anxious to see what happens in the near future.

Anonymous said...

For anyone who is a member of elance, there is a managing editor position ad that sounds vaguely familiar...different company name has posted it though. Coincidence???? Doubt it.

Anonymous said...

What is the new company name on Elance?

rjlight said...

I just sent the letter I received from Hope Hunt to the beware email address as per your request, Victoria. It is an attachment as it is a pdf file. To however, the anonymous person is who supposedly worked at Laray Carr -- my two articles were great articles. I could care less that they received sub-par articles, they need to pay for the ones they accepted. I sent in two and even received a thank you from Hope Hunt for sending in earlier than deadline. This is just so wrong. I can't believe they can get away with this.

Victoria Strauss said...

Check out the latest Laray Carr website (URL: http://ttavibro.com/corporatenew/).

It begins:

"Creating Publications
.........people can relate too"

It continues:

"Creating publications people can relate too, understand the daily affects of life, and social issues facing our readers. We hold high standards for editorial quality."

Un-frickin'-believable. Or, given what's already happened, maybe not.

Thanks to the many people who've sent me copies of LCP emails--I really appreciate it. I haven't had a chance to go through them yet, but I may have comments once I do.

kathyneilsen said...

Check out one of the articles that Laray Carr labeled as CRAP! Thsi is the link
http://www.gomestic.com/Cooking/A-History-of-the-Amazing-Pumpkin.48686
It,s had an amazing response since being released late yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I lost six weeks of work and $5000 because of this scam. We can complain and it won't make a difference. We ALL have to call the police in Terrell Texas and get them to check this out so we can get this guy served with papers. I'm a "real writer" who has made a good living for 15 years writing and editing, and I will not sit down while I am scammed like this. WE ALL should contact Guru also, otherwise, more writers and editors will be lured in to this. It's not until week three when you get the poorly written articles that you realize it's a scam.

-SS

Anonymous said...

What did you do for the company that accumulated to $5000 - that's a ton of work!

Katharine Swan said...

SS,

Can you leave the number for the Terrell police on this thread? I know it's probably available elsewhere on the Web, but it'll make things easier for others if they can just get the number here.

kathyneilsen said...

I just e-mailed the whole sordid story along with all the proof gathered to a Terrell Newspaper. Maybe they'll do a story about it. I also sent the rejection letter to a blog called writers recess, they pring rejection letters there. I gave them some additional info as well. One other newspaper I contacted also in Dallas Texas since they're new offices are suppose to be there. Maybe they'll get the message... you don't mess around with writers

Anonymous said...

I had posted the number above, but here it is again:

Local police in Terrell. No newspaper will pick this up unless it's spun as a "beware of Internet hirings" on Craigs List and Guru and other consolidated sites.


972 551 6622
Sergeant Ken McCann

As for the work load, it was tremendous. I had to do the edcal for five magazines for a six month period with the features explained, the sources and interviews defined, etc. I did all that work for nothing. "Roger" assigned the stories and yet didn't forward along any of the interviewees with it...he just told people to write as much as they could about a "topic" so they went and plagiarized...and the writing was at 2nd grade level, if that.

-ss

kathyneilsen said...

ss
Did they let all the editors go? or are you in the minority? I was in contact with Marie Rossiter, she said she was the Editor for Mommy and Me as well as Simple Household living Texan and a couple of others. We were e-mailing back and forth, both in the dark but she was getting occasional info from Roger. She told me that most of the articles she was getting were not very good either. Only a few were worth publishing. As of Tuesday she has not responded to my e-mails.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame the writers if their articles are of poor quality. When Hope emailed me, she just asked "How many can you do (in 72 hours)?" without even asking for clips. And besides, they didn't even ask for the fact-checking package or whatever they call it, as Genesis had said. Thankfully, I thought it was impossible for me to gather resources and interview reputable personalities within 72 hours what with my current workload during that time. Therefore I've been saved from all this heartache. I really feel sorry for all those who didn't get paid. I hope things had turned out differently.

kathyneilsen said...

I might have a piece of good news regarding the Laray Carr fiasco. I sent all the info yesterday to a Terrell and Dallas newspaper and I recieved a reply from the Terrell newspaper this morning.

I found out about Quincy Laray Carr on Wednesday and I'm working on it. Police haven't done anything with this case, yet. They haven't been able to find him.


Tereasa

Yhere may be justice after all.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Katie said...

I saw this at the Craigslist Curmudgeon. I guess it's the same place?

Victoria Strauss said...

I just deleted a comment from an anonymous person providing what they claimed was Quincy Carr's cell phone number. I'll be glad to share this with anyone who contacts me privately, but I don't allow people's phone numbers to be posted here without their consent.

Great work on snagging the interest of the newspapers. Let's hope something happens there.

Victoria Strauss said...

A new ad for Laray Carr, from their new go-to person (post-Hope), Shadra Bruce. They don't seem to even be pretending to offer payment anymore.

Here's Shadra Bruce. Like Hope, she appears to be a virtual executive assistant.

Victoria Strauss said...

Another update: according to documentation I've received, Shadra Bruce (in the ad I linked to above, she was "Managing Director," but her current title is "Executive Director, Editorial & Publication Development") is telling people that LCP's October launch has been postponed to November.

Hope said...

It's time to set the record straight about ALOT of things on all these blogs and I am now fed up enough to do it.

I am Hope Hunt and I'm the person the writers all had contact with during the last 8 or so weeks. Please read what I am going to write very carefully and don't argue or doubt any of my points because I CAN PROVE them all beyond a reasonable doubt.

1. I was hired as a contract worker for LCP to work with their publishing branch. My contract expired 4 weeks ago and per my contract my pay date was net 15 days. I have not been paid a dime and have continued to work because I believe in LCP and what their plan is/was. I have no guarantee of every getting paid and have essentially donated these last four weeks as there is no existing contractual agreement between myself and the company.

2. All the contracts that all the writers received were EXACTLY the same until the last month when we added the $25 offer for shorter articles. Now what does this mean? NO contract had company info on it other than the name. No contract had Steaming Cleaning's fax number on it. I included that in an instructional email as writers were intially faxing them to the LCP office and I could not take articles until I knew a contract had arrived. Too much of a bottleneck so I asked and received permission from LCP to receive the faxes at my office. Thus the fax number in the writer's emails. I have stated before but will reiterate, my husband owns Steaming Cleaning, you can check it out and I office there. Come see for yourself if you would like.

3. All writers received the writer's guidelines prior to any assignments. It's been posted enough so I won't quote but there is no doubt in those guidelines that LCP expected quality work with excellent grammar, references, etc. Again, don't argue with me as I have every email I ever sent and can prove that every writer received the guidelines and the exact same ones until the new magazines were added.

4. Almost everything I have ever sent to a writer that has been posted about on here has been mis-quoted, mis-interpreted and mis-represented. I never turned away anyone's work based on quality (not my job, I'm not an editor.) I take that back, there was one writer whose article I wrote because I was anxious to see content on the subject and it was horrid and that's putting it nicely. I emailed him/her back and told them it needed to be rewritten (author initials A.I. so no one misinterprets.) I never gave an exact date checks would be mailed other than launch that per contract (read it you'll see) I always quoted launch date of Sept. 20th and then after that a more vague idea. When I checked with LCP after October push, they anticipated checks being mailed prior to new launch that's what I passed on to you. When all the drama heated up I told you they promised me a date . . . that's when the letter was sent.

5. I am not running a scam and would never ever knowingly participate in one. You can check me out as far back as you like. I can give you references to my clients including Sun Microsystems, Aetna Health Insurance, Volkswagen, etc. to verify my work and my ethics. You may not like to hear it but other than a young company to publishing's faults in a new field for them, alot of this could easily be blamed on the blogs. Remember what I said, I can prove this. So you want me to explain now, well here goes . . .

LCP's (a group of people/friends/investors whatever binds them to this company) plan was set to launch 35+ magazines this fall. They had spent months hiring web designers, editors, art directors, etc researching advertisers, gaining confidence and contacts, getting investors, etc. Then at the middle of August they realized they were all set to go, plan in place and divided up tasks. So I am hired on and after a couple of weeks of general admin tasks, research, etc. they ask me to take on collecting articles. Not a bad decision as I'm smart, good with people and quick on my feet and overly organized most of the time. So I go in full speed with little direction and admittedly no experience in the publishing world. My first couple of weeks are insane. LCP tells me they need a list of 600+ article topics assigned and returned in 3 days, I go for it but obviously fail to collect so many articles. Then they push the deadline another 4 days and then we push and push and push. And this essentially goes on for 1 month where at the end and in desperation they just tell me to get the equivalent of 30 articles per magazine including the one's already received.

During the last of these weeks I am assigned with getting the photos to go along with these articles which essentially means starting this process all over again. But the blogs start and are growing momentum despite NO WRONG-DOING ON THE COMPANY PART. At this point I start receiving questioning emails from writers who I answer as best as I can and pass the concerns on to my boss. Then people stop writing and photographers say they can't work for us here we are at the end of August, beginning of September without enough material to launch the magazines because of RUMORS!

Now don't get me wrong. You have no idea how badly I feel for how this has turned out thusfar. I built relationships with alot of you. I was working 18 hour days with you and chatting with you and working out topics and numbers with you. I was tracking those articles, who was on time, who was responsive so that when it came time to hire an on-going writing staff I would really be comfortable with my picks. I know you need the money (we all do) and I know you worked your asses off (excuse my french,) BUT up until this letter was sent out LCP HAD DONE NOTHING WRONG! The contract and I clearly stated that you would be paid when your article was published, no articles have been published.

So now you are going to say, what about the website, what about Quincy Carr, what about the lack of company information??? You've all found different dummy sites for Laray Carr on multiple web design firm's pages, you know they are working on it. It's gone up and down a few times as they try things and modify things. That's not unusual for a company who plans to start off with a BOOM of PR. I don't know Quincy Carr, I have never spoken with him, emailed him or anything else. But I do know this . . . even if the police report is solid, even if glowhost is reporting the the same person (and I certainly can't confirm or deny either,) we've all done things in our lives or known someone who has done something and then turned it around. Lastly, company information, it is a start up, that was known in the beginning, there's no history of things you can research on a new company and now that SO many companies are virtual even less when a new company is starting up.

I HATE how this has turned out for so many of the writers, but this blog (as well as the others) and it's contributors need to take some responsibility here. If it had just started with "I wrote some articles and I can't find anything about the company but my contract says I won't get paid til launch which is supposed to be the end of September and I'm antsy" and ended with "I know where you are coming from, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens at launch" or "In situations like this, get your foot in the door with a couple of articles and then wait to see before over-committing your time" then this whole mess would have been avoided. LCP would have had the material to launch it's magazines. People would be getting paid as I write this and alot of people would have jobs coming that they really enjoy.

So I've said my piece. If you have questions or comments, please don't contact my husband's office. His is a completely separate business than mine and the girls there do not deserve your animosity. If you want to reach me you can get my contact information from my website epoh.com or email me at lcpwriting@gmail.com.

I want LCP to work and I want to work with the amazing people I have met through these last 10 weeks.

Victoria Strauss said...

Hope,

Thanks for posting here.

Let me say first that I believe what you say. I think that because you were the only contact person writers had for LCP, you wound up taking the brunt of the suspicion and anger when people began to get worried. That sucks, and in your situation, I'd be upset and angry too.

However, I think you've been taken advantage of. You've worked hard for LCP and you haven't been paid. Frankly, I'm shocked that they hired an administrative employee essentially gratis--because that's what "pay on launch" or "pay on publication" is. Something goes wrong, and the company is off the hook; meanwhile, you've wound up working for free. You're suffering the effects of this company's absurd business plan and unbelievable unprofessionalism (and unprofessionalism is the least of what may be happening here), just like the writers, editors, and designers.

You can't blame the blogs for what's happened, however. Writers and others have every reason to be suspicious of LCP at this point. No professional magazine company starts looking for articles and photos just a month before launch. Magazines have lead times of many months; these articles and photos should have been in place long before August. No professional magazine company puts a person with no writing, editing, or magazine experience in charge of obtaining articles and hiring writers (this is not your fault--it was a crazy administrative decision on the part of LCP).

No professional magazine company is so secretive about its personnel, its physical location, its business information that absolutely nothing can be found out about it. Yes, many companies are virtual nowadays--but that doesn't mean they have to operate in stealth mode. Given the unrealistically enormous number of magazines LCP intended to launch, this apparent lack of professional staff is especially inexplicable. Last but not least, no professional magazine company produces contracts, ads, and website mockups riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, the way LCP has. It speaks to the amateurishness of the whole operation.

If LCP had made sensible hiring decisions, had been forthright about itself and its business plan, and had been professional about timing and other matters, the current uproar wouldn't have happened. I understand your investment in the company and its success, and your own disappointment that things seem to be going bad. But LCP brought this on itself.

ALC said...

Excuse me, but I have a great deal of trouble swallowing the fact that a "supposedly" professional, executive quality employee/contract person would be stupid enough to continue working for a company for an additional month after not being paid for contracted services for a prior month's worth of work.

Blame the "snags" and lack of launch all you want, Ms.Hunt, the simple fact is that if these schmucks have the capital to continue AND have the capital to launch 30+ magazines, then they certainly have the capital to pay for your services. If you are really ignorant enough to not demand payment for services rendered then you certainly aren't smart enough to understand the complexities of this scam - or the complexities of how the publishing industry works for that matter.

If you truly, honestly cannot understand that when a company doesn't file proper documentation with the state in which it supposedly operates, then it is, at the very least, most likely run by incompetents who don't know the first thing about running a business, at the most, a major scam!!! then I can understand how you can blame everyone else for things just not working out for these poor souls. Yeeeesh! Buy a vowel lady!

Are you really so ignorant that you can't understand that when a "supposed" corporation hides or refuses to acknowledge corporate ownership & investors (information which happens to be a matter of public record for legitimate corporations, BTW)then it is most likely because it is a BIG FAT CON?

I certainly hope that you ARE a part of the scam, because it pains me to think that there're actually people as gullible as you out there.

kathyneilsen said...

LCP can point fingers all they want, laying blame everywhere but on themselves, the bottom line now is this, they'll never launch in November because they have no content, no articles...no photots. And if they think they're ever going to get a good writer or photographer to work with them now they're kidding themselves. As far as I can see by treating everyone of these writers so badly they've just dug their own grave. The only way LCP will ever get one magazine off the ground is if Carr and his merry band start writing and taking photos themselves. THEY'RE DONE, IF THEY EVER STARTED TO BEGIN WITH!

kathyneilsen said...

The original "you've been dumped" letter is on display for all to see at http://literaryrejectionsondisplay.blogspot.com/
go check it out.

Victoria Strauss said...

Adding a link to the comment above:

Laray Carr rejection letter

Anonymous said...

For laughs I thought I'd go back to elance to check the status of the manging editor job. Now cmcgroup (aka LCP) has 8 different jobs posted and GET THIS - one is for LEGAL COUNSEL. Oh. My. God.

Is their conscious bothering them?

Anonymous said...

On elance:

Buyer: cmcgroup (44 projects posted, 4 Awarded)
Credit Card confirmed
Provider can contact buyer More info

Budget: Prefer not to disclose
Bids Received: 1 Bids (Average Bid: Sealed)
Posted: 09/27/2007 16:35 EST
Bidding Close: 7 d, 22 h+
(Ends: 10/09/2007 19:22 EST)

Project Details:

Our company is currently seeking a Company Legal Counsel that
could do some pro-bono work for our new firm to help us with
legal issues that have hurt our company’s growth and business
dealings. The ideal position would be to advise on legal issues
both business, and litigation in defamation cause on unwarranted
slander of our company which has cause unforeseen and unwarranted
problems. We would ask for you to writer cease and decease letters,
be the legal counsel for the company on these matters, and also
business contracts, and even filing of law suits if needed. These actions will help the company proceed to it’s potential of a $15 - $20 MM firm.

Once you help us with these issues and we resolve the legal issues
hurting our company we would sign to a 6 month corporate counsel
position with our company in the advise of business practices, and
legal protection and other issues. The contract and payment would be
discussed at a later time. After the pro-bono period we would offer a 6-month contract at $5000 per month for legal services.

Anyone want to do more free work for Quincy? He wants pro-bono and "mockups" of websites before hiring?

Anonymous said...

:) still not using the spell check...

Victoria Strauss said...

I guess this blog would be one of the targets of those "cease and decease" letters that this pro bono lawyer would "writer." Because, yanno, of all the slander here.

Riiiiiiight.

Anonymous said...

Well, after you writer all his letters and take care of his legal problems, roadblocks in his scam which were unforeseen and unwarranted (LMAO!!) he promises to get you on the payroll.

What a joke, he can’t even afford an attorney to write some letters! Legal services like this are about $300.

Quincy, you have no legal grounds, your scam’s cover was blown. You will need an attorney to defend the cases against you and keep you out of jail!

Go get a real job and quit using your Grandma!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the other editors, but I stopped working as soon as I saw the writing submissions. I realized it was an illegitimate "publisher" immediately. First of all, the editors hire writers, not the likes of "Roger" or whatever his real name is. Second of all, the identities and contact info for "writers" isn't hidden from the editors, as it was in this case. To hire people for $50 to write as much as possible makes it obvious this was not legitimate--even if intended to be. The two cover stories I volunteered to write were alone worth $5000 in the real market, so to do all the ed cal stuff, plus the features, plus the editing for $5,000 was a huge bargain. It's moot, because I will not have my name associated with such horrible content and no means to correct it. It's also obvious that in it sholdn't take three weeks for "Roger" to give me a legitimate name and address to which I can send a subpoena. As for his scare tactics relating to "libel," he obviously doesn't know the First Amendment very well. None of us have said anytihing untruthful. Libel applies when someone slanders another with vicious mistruths. YOu cannot scam or mislead dozens or hundreds of people, and take no responsibility. You will be held accountable, Roger, or whoever you are!

Take me to court. I have every email we ever sent to one another, and they all prove that you promised real writers and delivered plagiarized, ammateurish articles with no chance for editing...still working on getting me the contacts, Roger?!

kathyneilsen said...

Anonymous,
You're not the only editor to bail, although you may have been the first. But as the weeks and months dragged on others finally saw the light and have vacated the premises. Laray Carr may have been a grandiouse dream or an ill advised scam but either way STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES and Laray Carr is the perfect example.

kathyneilsen said...

If cmcgroup is Laray Carr and from the way the ad reads it very well could be there are many more writers designers and editors that may also get the shaft. I took a partial from one of the ads
regarding terms, get a load of this

- I will not use a third part escrow system.
- Please do not ask for advance payments or miles stones; please do not ask for some payment after you complete one, two, or three sites. I have been there and done that and was ripped off. Sorry just like bad buyers there are providers who lie about their skills, work, and take peoples money. I lose money you loose work. I rather have my $2000 in my hand.
- You must meet the first deadline. At that deadline all sources files must be delivered on time. You must meet the second deadline at that point all sources files must be delivered. I will require our people to test your work before payment and we will ask you to fix any problems before we pay out.
- You will be paid in full through Pay Pal, or Bank Transfer. No Western Union or Money Gram.
- Must provide samples of your work and do a mock up to show design quality.

Anonymous said...

elance has been notified and is investigating. And, ummm, I have it on good authority that all of the North American providers who bid on projects by cmcgroup were alerted to the real identity of the poster and the ongoing three ring circus. As of tonight, many have rescinded their bids and willingness to work for cmcgroup. They are being blocked in every way possible to scam more people.

Katharine Swan said...

Does anyone else find it funny and ironic that LCP is apparently trying to find a FREE lawyer to sue us for discussing their nonpayment? ;o)

kathyneilsen said...

I love it that Quincy complains about being ripped off...I guess if any one should know about being ripped off it's him LMAO. Sounds like the big project is sinking fast.

GuitarsJM said...

Hope Hunt -LCP Screwed Me & My Wife!
We feel so darned horrible! This was something we, as so many others have, believed in. After being laid off after 22years at the same job, me and the wife took up freelancing, me moreso than her since she is a fulltime nurse, god bless her. i, we, wrote our asses off! close to a $1000.00 in articles, if not more. (apologzie for sloppiness here as i am just writing fast free-form straight from thought)the money we were so eagerly awaiting was going to help pay some bills that have fallen behind. more importantly, we intended to use the majority to visit my wifes parents in fla. for thanksgiving. she hasnt seen them in a few years and was so longing to see them. it seems that thanks to Hope, we will not be with them and that is so sad to see my wife hurt like this. we just cant afford the airfare. I hope, HOPE pays in everyway possible for what she has done to so many hardworking people. of more importance to all... i have yet to see where anyone brings up WHAT was or is, the intent of this in the first place? of gathering all these articles, hundreds if not thousands. for publications that we involved only now realized was too odd. blinded we newbies and some veterans it seems, by the 50.00 per article. sounds good to those struggling as we were. if you were able to do, as we were, 5 articles a day... hmmm... $250.00 a day, 5 days a week... $1000.00.. NOT BAD! so i thought i had found my dream freelance site. now even worse. could any of the personal information all of us writers gave in said contracts, our names, address, not sure of s.s. number, could THIS have been the intent?? to garner as much, as many identities and sell them to whoever for $$$? its been done, it IS being done all the time. is there more for us to worry about than our hard work being taken? i dont thing our written work is in jeopardy of being printed somewhere else. i, for one, being an avid entertainment buff.. chose to review movies in theatre's, coming to theatre's. to dvd, blablalba... i did others, but mostly this type, so, these were kind of time sensitive; to put them out later, past release dates would serve NO purpose at all. so, all i can NOW think of is my personal information. NOT my work. i strongly think we need to band together and form some sort of group and possibly see a FREE attorney for US against Hope Hunt, LCP, Roger Owen and whoever else has been a party to this. you can email me at:

guitarsjm@com

my wife

nyrnwriter@yahoo.com

we currently write for some real legitimate and paying, writers groups and love the honesty we have found with them. but too bad we lost the money and our chance to see the folks this thanksgiving. i dont understand how people can do this to so many and go to sleep at nite... honestly, what have they got of ours?? they didnt get money, they got our time, they got whatever personal information we supplied... i think that is far more scarier. we learned, as so many have, a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Hope Hunt was not the cause of the LCP scam - she was doing a job she had signed a contract for. When you sign on to do a job, you do what the boss instructs.

I have four children who I told I was taking to Disney over spring break. I had a signed contract for a managing editor position for $7k. $7K! Do you know how much airfare for 6 people costs? I already made hotel reservations and plans.

You're not the only one here who has suffered. And Hope is not the reason for it. She is getting hate mail for doing nothing other than her job by what was defined in a contract that WE ALL thought was legitimate. You have no right to lambast her publicly like this.

If you were one of the great writers, maybe I should blame you for the crappy content that was sent in?? Things can go ugly a lot of ways fast if you start that, and there is no purpose for it here.

The only person here who deserves blame is Roger Owens, aka Quincy Carr, operating under LCP and CMCGROUP.

GuitarsJM said...

'writers research group" ehow

has anyone been getting paid by them??? we are just hoping so!

please let us know as we have been writing very hard for them. the site IS legit and our articles have appeared there. if you have been receiving payment please let me know so we dont throw up anymore from being scammed. we love to write and work hard. if you know of any steady freelance REAL paying sites, please let me know!!

thanks

write me at

guitarsjm@yahoo.com

Stephanie Todd said...

Dear Writers, Contractors of the Laray Carr Company other negatively impacted individuals,

First, my most humble of apologies for questioning your intuitiveness regarding the Laray Carr Company, LCP Media, Laray Carr Publishing and who we now fear is presenting themselves as CMCGroup. After my vow to help writers who were assigned articles and promised payment on Deb’s blog; I received an overwhelming response from writers as well as from Hope Hunt, Shadra Bruce, the editors of Laray Carr’s magazines and other contracted individuals. All of who have not received payment. Hope, Shadra and I have been working collectively and diligently over the past week to sort through this tangled mess of deceit.

Although many of you have stated and believe Hope has played a major part in pulling the wool over your eyes, I would like to assure all of you that she is just as much, if not more, of a victim as each of you. She has worked vigorously for LCP over the past 10 weeks and has not been paid, one cent. She has been used as a scapegoat by Roger Owens and the Laray Carr company when she has done nothing more than what she was instructed to do. Her name has been dragged through the mud, her family harassed and her image smeared. But, through all of this, she has remained relentless, kept extremely diligent records that protect herself and the writers legally, and has been an invaluable part of our efforts in investigating Roger Owens, Quincy Carr and the company in general.

Our initial theory is as follows:

The “company” believed it would earn money from advertising revenue to pay each contractor and writer, as promised. However, as a result of the blogs, many contractors began demanding payment upfront. Since the company refused payment until after the launch, the contractors quit, leaving a boatload of work to complete to meet the September 20th deadline, which made any hope for a September launch impossible. This left the company in a very bad position, with everyone was demanding payment.

The “company” should not have told contractors that their payments had been set aside and collected from investor money. They should have been upfront and honest about not having investor funding and instead recruited individuals who were willing to take on the risks of developing these magazines and receiving payment if/when the magazines launched. Sure, there would have been a ton of people not willing to participate; but those who were would’ve been aware of the risks involved and the magazines would have had a greater chance at being launched.

For a while, we each believed that this was the result of poor decision making, on behalf of a group of people who lack experience in publishing. Being in the business of consulting newbie publishers, this was not alarming. Most independent publishers have no prior experience or knowledge of the publishing industry; that is why they seek out the advice and help of publishing consultants.

Recent events have led us to believe that this is much deeper than a poor business plan. Within the past 48 hours, the three of us have confirmed that the corporate office address and phone number provided by Roger Owens, is a virtual office, Kable Distributors has not affiliated or agreed to any distribution deal with Laray Carr and the Dallas Convention Center has filed a suit against Quincy Carr. We are also under the assumption that there is no Roger Owens, Dean Person, David Person or Tim Baker and that Quincy Carr has impersonated and/or made up all of these names to help his “company” appear more established. Or perhaps, as representatives from the convention center informed us they believe there is no Quincy Carr and that “Quincy Carr” is a stolen identity.

In any event, at this time, on behalf of myself, Hope Hunt and Shadra Bruce, I urge each of you to contact Elance, Guru, Craigslist, Digg.com and any other forum for which freelancers are solicited for work and ask for their assistance in removing any ads for additional freelance work by any company that sounds eerily similar to Laray Carr. In addition, please forward the information below to them and ask their assistance in obtaining legal resolve for all who have been involved.

Each of us will be contacting the State Attorney General’s Office of Texas, the Terrell, Texas Police Department and the FBI with more detailed statements and information regarding this matter. Below I have attached a letter that we are asking everyone who reads this to forward to those same agencies. Contact information for each is below:

Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548

Email: greg.abbott@oag.state.tx.us

Email for the Terrell, Texas police department: police@cityofterrell.org

To file a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Division please follow this link:
https://complaint.ic3.gov/Default.aspx
When filing a complaint with the FBI please reference complaint #I078161442324531
The first letter is I as in Internet

In addition, please submit a written letter to the following address:
Federal Bureau of Investigation_
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW_Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Or visit this link, to find contact information for you local FBI office: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm

If you are international, please use this link to find your closest FBI office: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/legat/legat.htm


Please forward your contact information, contracts, and any pertinent emails regarding undisclosed information or payment information to VictimsofLCP@gmail.com, to assist appropriate law enforcement in understanding the scope of this fraudulent activity.

As I sign off, I’ll like to thank each of you who have contacted me for your kind words, patience and encouragement. I know many of you are experiencing tremendous financial setbacks right now and I understand how difficult that is. I am not without my own financial insecurities. But I fear this experience has damaged much more than what is tangible, like money, in some if not all of us. Let’s not let this ruin our faith in people or discourage us from pursuing our goals as entrepreneurs.


Sincerely,
On behalf of
Hope Hunt
Shandra Bruce
and myself Stephanie Todd


Complaint letter for Law Enforcement

[date]

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am one of the many people who responded through elance.com, guru.com, Craigslist.org, or another Web site advertising employment to work for Laray Carr Publications, also known as LCP, LC Publications, LC Media, and CMC Group.

I would like to file a complaint against this company for non-payment for services rendered. I believe the company is operating an Internet scam to defraud investors, steal creative work, or steal identities of those who have given personal information to contract with the company.

The main person who seems to be operating this potential scam is a man named Roger Owens. The company is registered with the comptroller of the state of Texas to Quincy Carr with a registered address of 201 Crenshaw Street, Terrell, Texas 75160-4521. I believe that Roger Owens and Quincy Carr are the same person. The email address associated with this company is lcpublications@gmail.com.

The company was supposed to disburse payments on September 20, 2007 and magazines were supposed to launch October 1. Instead of receiving payment as promised, the company refused payment and has on more than one occasion threatened to sue writers and editors who are discussing the situation in blogs.

The company owes from $25 to several thousand dollars depending on the person involved. I would like to request your assistance in investigating this company and attempting to resolve payment issues.

I can be reached at [phone number] or by email at [email address]. I would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and I am willing to cooperate by providing copies of all communications I’ve received from this company as well as any other helpful information.

Sincerely,


[name]

ShadraB said...

My name is Shadra Bruce, and my name has unfortunately been associated with LCP as part of the scam. I am here to tell you that I, too, have been scammed by Laray Carr. I am just another unpaid contractor. I live in Boise, Idaho and was contacted through guru to work as a managing editor for LCP. I gave them nearly ten weeks of my time, fulfilled all the requirements of my contract, only to have Roger Owens start back pedaling when it came time to pay. I am owed more than $7000 which I suspect I will never see. I admit that I responded to writers and told them that there was no pay if there was no publication. I have not seen the writer's contract; I was acting on instructions from Roger Owen, believing that I was working for a legitimate company. I apologize sincerely to anyone who was involved; please know that Hope, Stephanie, and I as well as many others who wish to remain anonymous and not have their names negatively associated with the company are cooperating with investigators in Texas as well as with the FBI to track this man/company/scam artist down and put an end to it all.

You can search me online and see that I am a legitimate, real person. I may be an extremely naive, trusting, and stupid person, but I am real...and I am in no way involved with any scam perpetuated by Roger Owen/Quincy Carr/LCP.

Please feel free to email me directly; for those writers from whom I requested re-submission of articles -- I have kept everything as evidence for the police, but have not given anything to Roger or LCP and will not. I am sincerely apologize for not being quicker to catch on. I guess I was just so excited to finally be doing something that seemed like a career that I wasn't as careful as I should have been.

Do understand, though, that in the beginning, everything seemed legit. I've worked with start ups before and it's not uncommon for the website to not be launched and for all the business filings to not be done -- BUT, now that I know the deal, you will also not find anyone more determined to make sure no one else is hurt in the scam.

Please feel free to contact me directly at desertchild71@yahoo.com. Please take the time to send a letter to your state's attorney general and the atty general of Texas. Please take the time to contact the Terrell, TX police department. Please fill out the online FBI complaint form. The more of us who band together to stop this company and these people the better.

Again, I am sorry. Hindsight being what it is, I feel I should have recognized it a lot sooner.

Sincerely,

Shadra Bruce
Boise, Idaho

Victoria Strauss said...

An argument erupted between Stephanie Todd and GuitarsJM. I've left their original comments, and deleted the argument and all posts pertaining to it. Further comments in this vein will be deleted. This blog will not become a forum for flaming.

Shadra, thanks so much for visiting here and commenting. I appreciate your candor.

Victoria Strauss said...

Oy veh. Just in the time it took me to delete the argument and write my comment above, two more flames were posted.

Therefore, I've temporarily enabled comment moderation on this blog. I regret doing it, not just because it impedes the free flow of information, but because it's a pain in my ass. But I don't want to have to be running over here six times a day to prune the comment thread.

Once things have calmed down--soon, hopefully--I'll open things up again.

Pat Vaught said...

Hello- I too did almost $1,000 dollars of work for Hope Hunt-I work full time and was up many nights doing this freelance to pay a tax bill since our school taxes were raised. I guess I am just too trusting and now am getting tax lein notices on my home. I counted on this and worked hard to do quality writing-I think this is very sad and would like to know how to report this - my family is now going to suffer-how do these people sleep? Sorry but I have to blame the editors too since they appear to be part of it....and not for nothing, why would you give your husband's cleaning business's fax number- how legit is this?
In researching this company after this whole mess, I found stuff from March of last year-how can we stop them? what was the purpose of scamming us? are they going to use our content or what? anyone know?

Victoria Strauss said...

ALC, just got your long, well-worded comment. Since I haven't any other way to reach you, I'm posting here to let you know that because it pertains to the foul-mouthed, abusive argument I've just deleted, I'm going to reject it. If you want to know more, contact me.

Anyone else who is wondering why their comment hasn't appeared may do the same (though I will NOT respond to abuse).

Anonymous said...

what is fact is simple. many if not all have been duped. there are many involved, so it seems, to set out to deceive; there is no other way to look at it. 37 magazines is an impossibility; and that is just the start of what was wrong. people for a long time to come will be searching the net for so much of their hard work; so much work from so many, that will never be paid for. what is also true, is that a great amount of personal information was given. in defense of 'guitarsjm', i have dealt with that person on several occasions, his style of 'shock writing' and antagonizing is intentional; it has elicited some terrific 'results' and served to unearth some other scams; at least it made people come out and not be afraid to say something. personally, i 'lost' or rather, was looking forward to some hefty checks. bye bye. you live, you learn. this will just go away as so many internet related scams and those responsible have.

Anonymous said...

How were the editors involved? Hope was in charge of contracts, she was not an editor and needed to get them somehow - so she gave her husband's fax # out. I'm sure if she knew this was a scam, she never would have had her husband's # associated with it.

Many of us editors work from home...my fax # is the same as my home #. I don't have a corporate address, I work from home. I will send my contact information to Victoria so she can verify it herself...I have great references and was simply taken in by a scam. I will not post my name here to be harassed like the others who have posted their name have been. I'm sure all of the editors would hand over their name and info for Victoria to verify as long as there was a guarantee it wouldn't be posted.

The only way the editors are involved is that we are caught in the middle. None of the editors have been paid a dime - the same as the writers.

Emile Barrios said...

I've been following this astounding thread from the beginning, and I see it as a powerful reinforcement of the purpose behind this entire blog (and those like it).

Writers are dreamers, and, sad to say, those dreams can make us vulnerable to crooks and liars who prey on our need (both financial and emotional) to be published. Our only defense is to become better informed about how these crminals work. Like it or not, writing is a business - and by becoming better businesspeople we can dry up the victim pool for people like "Quincy Carr".

Thank you, Victoria and Anita, for providing a place where we can get educated.

Victoria Strauss said...

I'm sure all of the editors would hand over their name and info for Victoria to verify as long as there was a guarantee it wouldn't be posted.

I urge anyone who wants to contact me to share their names, stories, or any other information pertaining to Laray Carr, to do so. Writer Beware holds all the information we receive in confidence, including the names and contact info of our informants, and absolutely will not post it without permission.

ALC said...

No need to explain. I just really, truly appreciate the fact that you deleted the truly inappropriately worded comments.

Thank you for all that you do.

Anonymous said...

there are so many other boards, writer to writer warning forums, and the like, where the exact same people defending and claiming to be victims as well, are THEN, in posts later one, they same people, different or anonymous id's (but oops... the ips are the same-hence, THEY are the same), and say quite different tales. it is just beyond thought, then again in this day and aga it isnt, how careful we must be in this internet driven age. evil doers and those who band with them, are always trying other avenues to deceit in order to gain information for their own benefit, steal personal informaition from people like us, etc. all we can do is RESEARCH AND RESEARCH prospects. read, post and search writer groups and forums as best you can. even freelance writing and freelance writers are targets for scams.... not much is safe anymore. i love to write; not about this shameful garbage though.

Anonymous said...

I ve been silently following this blog since the LCP scam originated. I also got trapped in the LCP scam. However, due to my other freelance work commitments, I just ended up writing few articles. Today, on a whim, I googled my article and found its edited version on some website. The saddening part was that some unknown author had got full credit for the article. As writers, we know how much effort and sweat goes into penning just one article. Definitely, it is upsetting when all that hard work goes down the drain.

However, this LCP scam has really opened my eyes in the sense that from now onwards I will be more alert and cautious when taking up new freelance jobs. It also taught me an important lesson - Always trust your gut feeling before signing on the dotted line!

All other writers out there, try to google your article. Chances are that you may find your 'edited' article pasted on some website and credited to some unidentified author.

Liza said...

Can you tell us how exactly you found your article online? I have googled my titles and I have also used copyscape on my actual content, and haven't found anything. Was your article changed in any way, or was it exact? Was your title still the same?

ShadraB said...

To the writer who found his/her article posted without credit: please, please contact the website and let them know it is stolen work. And if you aren't comfortable contacting me directly, please contact Victoria and provide her with the information about the article that was stolen. I kept every article that I edited and would be able to provide proof that you did not authorize this article to be used. You deserve to be compensated. I never dreamed they would steal the writing everyone did. I want to help--please please let Victoria know what article and where it was posted. We can help.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen said...

What if....

Given the contract terms, what if the scam was simply to get decent articles to re-sell to existing major markets?

Think about it -- you get someone to write an article for $50, re-sell it for $500 or $1000, never have to publish a magazine, and can cherry pick what articles you think might actually sell.

If they don't sell to the appropriate markets, the authors get letters saying "sorry" (which has happened) and no $ is owed.

Anonymous said...

I don't think articles were the original scam intent.

LCP advert rates were $20k inside/back cover, per mag with 36+ to sell.

Not inside ads ranged from $5k on up per mag.

I had this info doing marketing for them.


And for those who don't think Quincy Laray Carr is an id theft. Wrong!

He did register the company with Texas, shortly after it was exposed that he had not previously done so.

Articles require NOTARIZED signatures, requiring id and ssns.

Quincy Laray Carr is the sole director of LCP. Quincy's grandmother lives at the address he used to license the business.

Yes, I have confirmed this with her and another family member of his who wishes to say Anonymous!

Anonymous told me all about Quincy and that "he has problems". He has a lifetime history of lying, cheating, and schemeing. She gave me his cell number to call. Which I published here and Victoria will pass along if you are interested in calling him.

He even tried to pretend to be Dean Person when I called. Quincy Laray Carr is a real, not a real person, more like scum.

Victoria Strauss said...

I too would like to see some evidence that articles rejected by LCP have been posted online.

Normally, I'd suggest that those of you who submitted articles to LCP register your copyrights right away--just in case your work has been, or might be, used without your permission. You can still sue for infringement even if registration post-dates the infringement, although for a smaller range of damages.

However, the terms of the original LCP contract do seem to indicate (I say "seem" because the language is unclear and the terms are contradictory) that articles produced for the company were works for hire--in which case, you relinquished copyright when you signed the contract. Which means that LCP can do whatever it wants with the articles (a whole separate issue from the fact that it's dodging payment).

Here's the relevant contract clause, complete with its original errors:

Assignment and Ownership of Intellectual Property. Writer hereby understands and agrees that all Articles submitted to, and published by, Laray Carr Publications under this Agreement shall be considered works for hire, and further, to the extend any intellectual property right does not pass pursuant to a work for hire, Writer hereby assigns to Laray Carr Publications all rights to publish the Article, and all previously submitted articles of Writer, in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, including without limitation the rights to archive, republish, edit, repackage or revise any Article in any manner as Laray Carr Publications sees fit. The rights conferred upon Laray Carr Publications by this agreement shall be exclusive to Laray Carr Publications for a period of 1 months after the first date Laray Carr Publications initially publishes the Article.

Anyone with knowledge of contract terms have any thoughts on this?

Victoria Strauss said...

A great post from Katherine Swan on her blog summing up the current LCP situation, and pointing out some of the inconsistencies in the things various people have claimed about the company. I have my suspicions about a few of the commenters here, but I'm keeping them to myself for the moment.

beth said...

Victoria, the link in your recent post "contact me" does not seem to be working. I wrote 5 good articles for LCP. There was no way I could write 10 articles in 5 days, but Hope said I could commit to just what I felt was do-able (if thats a word.) Anyway, I wrote 3, and kept getting emails from Hope for more, so I wrote 2 more.
My biggest concern at the moment is that I filled out the "Taxpayer ID" field on my contract. Of course, that is my Social Security No. Oy, googling my articles will be the least of it if my SSN gets stolen...
Also, what do I do if/when I find my work published online? I am new to this, so I was willing to work for $50 per article -- it seemed like an OK start.
Before I end this post, I will say that I have also gotten legitimate writing work and really been paid for it -- my name (in lights!) under the title, all that good stuff.
>sigh<
Thanks to you and all the blog masters for providing a way for us to share information.

Katharine Swan said...

To those of you concerned about identity theft:

There IS something you can do.

Contact one of the credit bureaus (any one of the three will do) about placing a fraud alert on your credit report. Basically, this will require that a company go to extra lengths to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.

There are two levels of fraud alerts you can place on your account: a 90-day alert, and a 7-year alert. If the 7 years is too long for you, you can call every three months to renew the fraud alert.

Also, you may be able to request a free copy of your credit report if you have reason to suspect fraud.

You can place a fraud report on your credit report with Experian by going here:

https://www.experian.com/consumer/cac/InvalidateSession.do?code=SECURITYALERT

I also have the number for Equifax's fraud division:

1-888-766-0008

I don't have the information for contacting the third credit bureau, TransUnion, but remember that you only have to contact one.

Hopefully this information will help those who are concerned about LCP stealing their identities.

Anonymous said...

Liza, Shadra, Victoria and all others out there, I want to apologize for misleading you all. Yesterday, when I found an article having a similar title to my original on some other site, I got agitated and really freaked out. Maybe subconsciously, I expected the content of my article to be stolen and put up on some website. So I impulsively poured out my heart in this blog. At that time, I had just glanced at the article and 'presumed' it to be the edited version of my article. Now when I am reading it with a calm mind, I am beginning to realize that the gist and the content of the article are absolutely different from mine. You may call it my restless mind or my lack of attention, but, yes, I've a made an awful mistake. I did not intend to purposely misguide you all. I fervently express regret at my impetuous act and ask for everybody's forgiveness, especially Shadra. I never meant to give you a sleepless night over this stolen content issue, Shadra. Please forgive me if you can. Thanks!

As regards to the LCP scam, I don't think there is any point in accusing Hope, Shadra or Stephanie. In the end, it is me who is at fault. I knew the contract terms were fishy. There was no confidentiality agreement which usually comes along with the contract. The major point was that the contract didn't feature the official address of the company. If I had shown the contract to my lawyer, he would have definitely pointed out the inconsistencies in the contract. I did google to get information about the company and I found nothing about LCP, not even address of the company. Generally, companies initially provide a trial assignment to gauge the proficiency and capabilities of a writer. Here, I was immediately asked to submit an 'X' number of article by the 'Y' date. Yet, I turned a deaf ear to my warning instincts and signed on the contract. Nobody forced or influenced me to work for LCP. My greed for extra money and additional work experience got me embroiled in this LCP scam. I threw caution to the winds and learnt a life-changing lesson. I know many of you may or may not acknowledge my point of view. But, this is the reality and reality bites!

Amy Derby said...

Victoria,

Re: the contract excerpt, I am a former paralegal and have seen a LOT of contracts. That said, I'm not an attorney, so take the following with a grain of salt...

"Writer hereby understands and agrees that all Articles submitted to, and published by" translates into the rest of this clause being void unless the articles were published. My understanding (although I haven't been following all that closely) is that writers received rejection letters. For those writers, this would automatically make their contracts void based on the portion I've quoted.

Next...

"The rights conferred upon Laray Carr Publications by this agreement shall be exclusive to Laray Carr Publications for a period of 1 months after the first date Laray Carr Publications initially publishes the Article." This completely contradicts "...shall be considered works for hire, and further, to the extend any intellectual property right does not pass pursuant to a work for hire, Writer hereby assigns to Laray Carr Publications all rights..." I'd love to be in the courtroom and see the judge's face when he reads this. I can only imagine what the rest of this contract looks like.

Maybe an arbitrary point here, but the presence of fraud automatically makes a contract void.


Re: this guy seeking pro bono legal counsel, I can't see that happening. No legitimate attorney, or even anyone who has the slightest knowledge of the law, would take him on. If this blog is the type of "slander" he's talking about, any attorney would laugh. I've never heard of an attorney even taking on such a case on a contingency basis, let alone pro bono. For anyone actually concerned about what constitutes defamation, libel or slander, I recommend reading this: http://www.expertlaw.com/library/personal_injury/defamation.html

Amy Derby said...

P.S. to Beth and anyone else who gave their social security number, contact the fraud department of the major credit bureaus and request that a possible fraud flag be placed on your record. This will require all creditors to contact you before approving additional credit using your social security number. See also: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/compromised.html

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens...I spoke to the web designer who was hired by cmcgroup to produce 43 magazine websites last week. His contact name was Bobby Carlson...could be another alias. When the designs were complete, suddenly payment can't be made until changes are made. Uh huh. The webdesigner bill is over $20K and has not been paid.

So, what is the penalty for International scams?

beth said...

Katharine and Amy, thanks so much for the info one how to protect my SSN!

Hope said...

I know this is little consolation but anyone who sent their contract to me (Hope Hunt) either on my husband's fax or via email is not at risk for identity theft that way. Those contracts are under lock and key for criminal/civil charge purposes otherwise they would have been destroyed. LCP (Roger/Quincy/whomever) have never seen them.

Anonymous said...

hello hope...
nice to hear from you with the most important piece of info that has send shudders of id theft fear throughout.. thanks for letting us no that our info is safe with you and that it has not and will not be released to whomever. all i, all we, can do is trust what you are saying. is there any way you can assure us that none of our information has or will be released? can you send the contracts back to writers stating the information contained within them has never been used or released? it may add even much greate calmness to all. also; there seems to be more steam gathering on this scam.. came across this:

http://cookingspoon.blogspot.com/2007/09/moral-corruption.html

and:

http://wordpress.com/tag/lcp/


hope, no pun intended, we have all learned an un necessary lesson and thang g-d that our information is safe. thank you hope.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those writers that was in contact with Hope Hunt - I sent her five articles which she accepted. Just today, I emailed her an email - I received a reply that she was no longer associated with this company and the company was not paying any of its contracted writers or workers. As a new freelance writer, I suppose this is a lesson to carefully research prospective businesses before taking on writing projects.

Anonymous said...

This is from Victoria Swan's blog...yet ANOTHER company post, this time under DUEMARK on scriptlance.com. Here's from Katharine's blog:

The typos are characteristic of Laray Carr/LCP correspondence, as are the short deadline and the flat refusal to work with contractors for more favorable terms. (You may remember that one or two writers reported that when they questioned the lack of company information on LCP's contracts, they were immediately threatened with removal from the list of writers.)

I searched for the ad and found it on Scriptlance.com as well. The ad is posted there under the username liveweb. My advice is to steer clear of liveweb, CMCGROUP, Laray Carr, and anyone else who shows this little respect for contractors.

Anonymous said...

There is also the same ad on getafreelancer.com under the company of McFields in TX. Too bad he's too lazy to change the ads around a little bit....duh!!!

Victoria Strauss said...

In latest news, Laray Carr seems definitely to be doing business as CMCGROUP (or CMCGroup, or CMC Group--just covering all the search engine bases). On Deb Ng's blog, a Bulgarian web designer has posted that he was hired by a Bobby Carlson of CMCGroup to create websites for 43 magazines. The magazines are all the Laray Carr titles, with the same cover mockups that Laray Carr was using. Here's the job the web designer--who, not surprisingly, is saying that he didn't get paid--was responding to.

Laray Carr may also be thinking of changing its name again--to MNT Management. Here's the website the web designer built for that business name. You have to wait a little while for the magazine covers to load, but they are, again, all the Laray Carr covers, and the text at the bottom is what has appeared on the various Laray Carr websites.

So, one more time for the search engines, beware of:

CMCGroup or CMC Group
MNT Management

And one more thing. I urge anyone who is considering sending information, complaints, financial claims, or anything else about their LCP experience to groups or individuals to contact only people you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN are who they say they are.

Anonymous said...

Laray Carr is posting on elance and has since 6/06.

I found their company profile here:
http://www.getafreelancer.com/users/195089.html

then clicked on the past project (logo development) here:
http://www.getafreelancer.com/projects/Graphic-Design-Logo-Design/Logo-Needed.65528.html


The logo was for Laray Carr.

Typical Quincy, demands that any potential freelance must post "samples of a Laray Carr logo for him to (steal) choose and award the winner with payment.

Here is a copy of the test of the ad:

This posting is for a new company logo. The company in question is a new media company in broadcasting, publishing, print, ecommerce interactive media. The company is a large corporate America firm. This is too choose the best logo from the best designer. Designers would need to design and submit there best logo to use. The designer with the best logo sample will be awarded the project and payment. This is the best way to find the best talent in a crowded market place. We will check for samples in 2 days. Those who submit a bid must submit a sample for our company. If the project ends without a selection know we will selected a winner in a few days. If you do not submit a logo sample with our specifics then you will not be considered. We pay by Pay Pal.

Logo Design Information:

Company Name: Laray Carr
Business Focus: Corporate Conglomerate in Media. Broadcasting, Diversified Industries

Type of Logo Need: We want something with strong colors, creative, traditional, something that says big company, something that incorporate the company's business.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Additional information submitted:
06/04/2006 at 21:47 EDT:
********for those of you who provided portfolios thanks but remember to be considered you must design a sample concept logo with our company name. While your work may be good your design for us may not meet our taste so designing a concept insures we will select our logo the way you designed from the right designer********************

ALC said...

Amazing!

I would hope that only an incredibly inexperienced person would fall for this add.

First of all, a large corporation would most likely have had a logo long before becoming a large corporation.

Secondly, if investors were coming together to develop a new "large corporation" they would most likely use people with whom they had already had experience, and/or would have sufficient contacts in the business world to have designers recommended to them.

Third, a designer/design company would be selected based on their body of work (their portfolio) and then would begin the creation of the logo (which would go through various stages of design & feedback from the client). No experienced designer/design company is going to go through all the trouble of designing a corporate logo for an unknown entity without even the promise of payment for time.

NOW, ABOUT THE HORRIBLE GRAMMAR AND TYPOS ... NOT TO MENTION THE OUTRIGHT INCORRECT USAGE OF VARIOUS WORDS ...

I sincerely hope that no one would be naive enough to fall for this.

In fact, if we could spread the word ... a professionally run business or other organization proof-reads its ads before submitting them. Within every office/business for which I have ever worked, people were even careful about sending poorly worded emails and other correspondence inter-office, let alone to any outside entities.

Victoria Strauss said...

Laray Carr is still going strong...just under different names.

See my previous comment, above, for the story of a web designer who bid on a web design job on elance.com for a Bobby Carlson of CMC Group, and got stiffed. The website he designed--which contains all the familiar Laray Carr text and magazine covers--has yet another name: MNT Management.

Now on Scriptlance, a company called Duemark (username: liveweb) is posting job offers. See this job offer for a web designer. Here's an excerpt:

- I will not use a third part escrow system.
- Please do not ask for advance payments or miles stones; please do not ask for some payment after you complete one, two, or three sites. I have been there and done that and was ripped off. Sorry just like bad buyers there are providers who lie about their skills, work, and take peoples money. I lose money you loose work. I rather have my $2000 in my hand.
- You must meet the first deadline. At that deadline all sources files must be delivered on time. You must meet the second deadline at that point all sources files must be delivered. I will require our people to test your work before payment and we will ask you to fix any problems before we pay out.
- You will be paid in full through Pay Pal, 2Checkout.com, or Bank Transfer. No Western Union or Money Gram.
- Must provide samples of your work and do a mock up to show design quality.


This identical text also appears in job offers posted on elance by CMCGroup (see Kathy Neilsen's comment, some way above, and also here). Note the grammatical and other errors, typical of a Laray Carr communication.

Here's a current job offer from Duemark for a content writer.

So, one more time for the search engines:

Laray Carr is now attempting to do business as:

- CMC Group or CMCgroup (Bobby Carlson)
- MNT Management
- Duemark (liveweb)

Be warned.

Anyone who is owed money by Laray Carr, please contact me at beware@sfwa.org. I have information for you.

Anonymous said...

You'll never guess who posted this message as well:

http://www.thelaw.com/forums/showthread.php?s=0ccfa3c2ee7bd2241491fd593a9cdba5&p=38338#post38338

Victoria Strauss said...

Adding a link to the comment above.

Basically, it's someone who sounds a lot like Quincy or whoever he is, asking about his legal options:

"I am a publisher of a new magazine. The publication will come out in November. I was being really private with my information, because I worked from home. I would use freelance writers to help out. Well the agreement I used stated that each article they write I would pay $50. Well two of the writers didn’t like the price or terms of the agreement. Also because I didn’t have a website up they said I was a false company, and that it was a scam, that I was just trying to take there articles and resell them. Well they have gone so far to post information like this calling my company a scam, saying bad things and say I am stealing work. Keep in mind I have not paid anyone and am not required to pay until the magazine publishes. Now the information has cause advertisers I had lined up to pull out, celebrities I had featured to pullout, and other writers to default on their contracts because of this false information."

I couldn't read any farther, I was crying too hard.

Note the claimed November launch date. This message was posted September 11th, when Hope Hunt was telling people the launch date was October.

Mariella said...

*whacks own head upon reading that*

WOW.

Anonymous said...

I think LCP is posting on elance as prominentmagazine. Posting ads for several different magazines, looking to hire writers and one for an editor. Quincy has tried to get some brains, at least this time he is requiring "imeages" with the articles.

All the ads say no to escrow.

75 people applied for the magazine editorial position.

Liza said...

I tried to click on the link to contact you as per your request in a comment. I am owed 450 but have given up.......

kathyneilsen said...

I looked at prominentmagazine and it may be Laray Carr. If it is he's started getting some advice and changing things up a little. However, I was just GetaFreelancer and found a Job Posting by DUEWORLD...sound familiar? Duemark is on another job board. DUEWORLD is brand new to the site as of this morning. Offering $3500. for the job which includes press releases and marketing materials, press kits and legal advice.(from a writer?) Project not to be paid until complete. He's removed all the rantings.

He finally seems to see the need for a stong writer with proofing and editing skills. The ad itself could benefit from a proofing.

http://www.getafreelancer.com/projects/bskcom_185584.html

Anonymous said...

We can all sue him for free in small claims in Texas...that's why I suggested every one call the sergeant at the Terrell Police Station to find out how we can serve him with papers to appear in court. We should all inundate Guru and Craigs list and any other with calls that he's a scammer and tell them we will hold them responsible if they do not help us, as so many social sites are now being held accountable (i.e. Facebook and its child predator woes).

They can't just ignore us if there's a bunch of calls that people got scammed

-susana

Anonymous said...

That link on thelaw.com was a good find -- and Stephanie takes him to task in the last message in the thread. Well said.

I don't know why people who have done bad business things (scam or just plain ignorant) feel there should be some legal defense for them, except that it fits a pattern of trying to get money out of people by any means necessary.

I wish it was easier to stop scammers (which this does appear to be), but they tend to be very tricky and resourceful people.

Victoria Strauss said...

Once again, if you're owed money by Laray Carr, I have information for you--please contact me at beware@sfwa.org.

Anonymous said...

Prominent seems to be legit. They are producing a magazine, the right way. I have checked into it and the publisher, Farrah Gray, is very well known and I have actually spoken to him personally. I didn't see any posts for Prominent that looked like LCP.

Anonymous said...

I too was among all of you that was scammed by these losers - however I made sure to get in writing via an e-mail that their refusal to pay my invoices for the 10 articles submitted represented a "right of first refusal" on all peices and they retain no rights to their publication - I have since resold 4 of the peices to legitimate magazines and sites for 4X as much and more than the 50.00 they were allgedly going to pay - so I have made back already more than the 500.00 I would have gotten from them, and still have 6 other good stories I can place elsewhere - I suggest you all chalk it up to experince an do the same...

Anonymous said...

Why don't we all call the Social Security Offices and let them know this guy has hundreds of social security numbers that were illegally and unethically procured?

-S

Anonymous said...

Laray Carr/LC Publications/LCP Media signed a contract with myself for TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to develop all of there websites... when asked for deposits they said "our CEO has been ripped off in the past by freelancers so doesnt like to pay deposits, so we did a deal that we would send over initial concepts then we would recieve the deposit that we asked for.... we sent over the concepts which in there own words "LOVED" did we ever recieve the deposit?! NO! Did we ever have any more contact from them? NO! When we hired a private investigator and they couldnt find any information on the company (at the time) nor the owners (there names didnt bring up ANY information) alarm bells started ringing... we sent an email stating that we'd had a private investigator look into them and was puzzled that they just seemed to be non existant they replied "we decided to have our in house team to do the design work instead, your more than willing to come and meet us at our offices, meet our investors to prove we are real" when we replied to say we would love to fly over from EUROPE to meet them and would gladly pay for the flights ourselves and not bill them, we didnt recieve anymore responces..... are they a real company?! Do they have any money?! Do they have a rich investor?! in my opinon.... HELL NO!

Anonymous said...

Sent to Roger...

"Myself, a private investigator and my lawyer in texas did a search on L C Publications and Laray Carr Publications today, and found that it isnt a registered entity.

We also did a search on David Person and found that he doesn't exist either this now leading us to believe that this has been a wild hoax, we are just waiting for the results of the search on yourself to come back.

Why did you sign a contract with us if you had no intentions of actually paying? We have wasted alot of man hours which i've no been left with a bill for.

I really hope you can come back to me to tell me this isnt a wild hoax."

Reply from Roger...

"Who ever your lawyer is in Texas he can meet with me and David anytime."

"So if you want your lawyer to speak with me let me know. Or better yet he can talk with John Buckingham our legal representation"

Famous last words from "Roger"..

"we will Honor the contract you don't have to worry about that"

WE EVEN DESIGNED THE LOGO THERE USING AND NEVER PAID FOR!!!

Victoria Strauss said...

To the author (or authors) of the last two posts--contact me at beware@sfwa.org. I have someone you can make a report to.

It's November, the purported date for LCP's launch. Not surprisingly, there's no sign of LCP.

Andy Sinclair said...

Have any charges been filed against Laray Carr or even an arrest possibly made?

ratnesh said...

I would like to add my experience with LCP.

We are a design firm based in India and were contracted by LCP for graphic design jobs from 8th August to 17th September. The contract was for $4000 plus $1200 in addition as we did a big extra lot of work in 5 days.

The contract was signed by some DAVID PERSON , Director of Publishing Development. Though all the contact and communication was with Roger Owens.

We did around 45 web templates for all of their magazines. Their corporate and media website along with 3 more. Also, there were these one page templates for all magazines again (around 40). I remember Stephan mentioning he has found their corporate website in the link of www.ttavibro.com/corporatenew . Well, they are our samples that we uploaded which I removed as I came to know of the scam.

Roger sounded very professional. He was very prompt with his responses. I do remember asking him if he ever sleeps, because whole day and whole night I could find him responding. (that goes to say that I worked day and night for him for days!)

The questions on payment were handled very smoothly. I asked him for the $1200 payment after finished the quick job. I was also convinced that once we are through with the contract the payment would be made in full and I need not worry.

Well, so it got over one fine day and I did not hear from him. I waited for 3-4 days and dropped him e-mail asking for the payment. I was told that the details are forwarded to the Accounts Department and they would take care of it. Nothing happened since then, I did send him multiple requests for payments to which I got response that it would be done shortly. Then I asked for a final date for payment, since then I have not heard from him. It is an automated reply after that.

It is a real big fraud with so many victims. I do not understand what he did with so many templates that me and many other provided him. And with hundreds of articles that writers did for him if they are not launching the magazines. I mean what they really want? May be a funding from investors, which they didn’t succeed!

I am constantly dropping e-mails and hope they’ll be responded live. I wish we all get our dues.

Regards,
Ratnesh

Anonymous said...

I was a writer that was scammed by LCP a few months ago, thankfully they only owed me 250$. However, just today I received this email. It seems that they are up to their old tricks again.

The Only Requirement Is To Join!
That's It! No Selling, No Advertising, No Nothing!!

Be one of the first to get in on this amazing new program with a MUST SEE product line and a revolutionary compensation plan that guarantees that you will earn commissions on your FIRST DAY! Yes, you read it right - Collect your first payment TONIGHT . To get more details about this brand new opportunity, send an email to: lcm.info1@gmail.com

sabrina said...

Dear Victoria
We are aware of a magazine scam called B-Spoke Magazine currently operating in the UK.
The 'editor' Scott Dylan is connected to Laray Carr.
If you are interested in finding our more, please contact us at info@wideblue.co.uk.

Best wishes.
Sabrina

http://scottdylanxclusivemedia.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Well...is everyone ready???
It is now July 2009 and the situation has totally resuscitated
from the dead. An identical scheme/venture has surfaced out of Terrel, TX with exactly the same identical pattern - work for no pay.
The publisher is one Quinn Rhodes and the company name is Niche Age Media. It is either the same group or someone that things they can get away with it this time around because those that got burned before have forgotten or are no longer around.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous, thanks for the heads-up. I agree, this does look eerily similar to the Laray Carr scheme. Rest assured that I have not forgotten, and will be watching this new venture to see what happens.