Stories about scams and scammers can be fun, but you never have to dig too deep before you find someone undeserving who got hurt in the process, and that tends to take the air out of the tires. Well, here’s a guilt-free scam story for you—a huckster in Utah scammed a far-right writer and his followers out of $1 million intended for a “Confederacy-themed superhero movie”. Every word of that sentence is increasingly insane, so let’s break it down.
Let’s start with the target: Theodore Beale, also known as Vox Day, a far-right writer, blogger, game designer, rabble-rouser, etc.
Don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of him, but this guy has been a presence in two of the biggest online movements that turned out to be major precursors of the conservative/ Nationalist movement that swept America in 2016. He was an early adopter of GamerGate, even co-hosting a GamerGate event in 2015 (with Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich, no less). And he was a leader of the “Rabid Puppies”, the online sadboys who tried to ruin the 2016 Hugo Awards, which recognizes excellence in science fiction and speculative fiction. That didn’t work, but like GamerGate, the Rabid Puppies campaign signaled a freight train of conservative unpleasantness coming for everyone later that year. This is the, er, victim of the scam.
The target was a movie proposed by Beale called Rebel’s Run centered on a superheroine named, naturally, Rebel, who is pictured in a Wonder Woman-esque bustier, but it’s made out of a Confederate flag. I'm not linking to it, YOU google it and f-ck up your algorithms, mine are trash enough thanks to this story.
The never-be film is described as “anti-woke” (of course), and Rebel’s whole deal is that she frees “freethinking conservatives” from the oppression of social justice. I don’t think anyone involved knows what “oppression” means, but that’s the movie Beale pitched to his followers. He proceeded to crowd-fund $1 million for the project. There used to be a concept trailer online for this movie, but it was pulled after everyone made fun of it.
Beale parked his money with Ohana Capital Financial, a Utah company boasting to be “bankers to the unbankable”. That doesn’t sound like a stable place to put your many zeroes, but do you, my guy. Ohana Capital was run by “James Wolfgramm”, who looked like a rich-o online thanks to photos of sports cars he pulled from other people’s Instas. Wolfgramm was running an ad hoc Ponzi scheme, though, after a separate scam resulted in him needing to procure millions of dollars’ worth of PPE from China for another (alleged) victim. Enter Beale’s $1 million.
You guessed it, Wolfgramm (allegedly) used Beale’s money to cover his ass with that other investor who gave him more millions to buy the PPE in the early days of the pandemic. Wolfgramm didn’t do that, he (allegedly) spent the money on his own stuff, and then used Beale’s money for the belated PPE. I guess he got busted before he could find yet another rube to then cover Beale’s investment. End result: the Rebel’s Run project is bankrupt. Beale doesn’t “count on us getting the money back”.
Beale thinks this was deliberate, saying, “I strongly suspect this whole thing was a targeted operation intended to break our community.” You know what? I WISH IT WAS. That would be EVEN FUNNIER. Instead, this looks like a classic case of a dummy falling into a dummy pit. Wolfgramm has been indicted on multiple counts covering multiple scams, Beale and Rebel’s Run is just one part of his house of cards. There’s no specific target, Wolfgramm (allegedly) ran multiple confidence schemes, of which Ohana Capital was one, and Beale fell for it. My question is, why did you park ONE MILLION DOLLARS with a firm advertising itself to the “unbankable”? A person with a cool mill is VERY bankable. Like, Wells Fargo that sh-t.
To sum up: a far-right sh-thead raised one million real dollars for a racist superhero movie and then lost it all because he cut corners on the bank. It’s the perfect scam story, there are no victims.
Live long and gossip,