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

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

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

    Julie-Ann
    http://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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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?

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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?!

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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)

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. ‘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

  35. 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]

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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?

  40. 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).

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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?

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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?

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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!

  57. 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

  58. 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?

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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!!!

  64. 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.

  65. 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********************

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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…….

  71. 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

  72. 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

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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…

  76. 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

  77. 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!

  78. 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!!!

  79. 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.

  80. 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 http://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

  81. 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

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

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