UPDATE: Irvine's Ken Niedziela, the Veterinary Practice News news editor, emailed the Weekly Tuesday to say he wrote the Escape Alert story and contacted Karen Zaxton after seeing our post. "Karen confirmed that she is Karen Hanover," Niedziela writes. "She also said she was resigning her position with Escape Alert effective today to avoid hurting the company. She insisted that Escape Alert is a legitimate company and potential product. She said she would have CEO Wayne Norris contact me. She also said the Kickstarter campaign was delayed."
A crowdfunding campaign launches today for a fledgling company that is hawking veterinarian-implanted microchips that would use GPS to track lost pets.
Sweet. But what's so interesting about that? Well, the domain for the Escape Alert device is owned by Karen Hanover of West Hills and the email address email@example.com.
A Karen Hanover of Seal Beach and firstname.lastname@example.org signed a plea agreement in federal court in Santa Ana this past March stating that she bilked 48 people out of $1,437,091.36 through get-rich-via-real-estate seminars across the country.
The case was marked by Hanover–as she was being investigated–contacting some of those who complained about her through "spoofing" software that made it sound and appear on caller I.D. that an FBI agent was on the phone with warnings to whistleblowers to back off. She got six months in jail for that before she pleaded guilty to the fraud.
Learn more about Escape Alert at escapealert.com. Notice the button that advises visitors to find the Kickstarter campaign that runs Sept. 30 through Nov. 21.
What appears to be a story on Escape Alert is at veterinarypracticenews.com. "There is a lot of technology which needs to fit in that tiny space, including, but not limited to, the GPS, battery and antenna," Escape Alert spokeswoman Karen Zaxton says in the piece. "We know we can make it as small as a postage stamp and are now working to make that even smaller."
Karen Zaxton has a LinkedIn page with a profile photo of a woman who looks similar to Hanover–at least based on the photo Hanover asked the Weekly to run with our fraud coverage of her.
Zaxton is identified as an "actress, host stand up comedian." Shortly before the fraud conviction, Hanover claimed to be a stand-up comic on the verge of hosting a TV talk show.
As they say in the funny papers, crowdfunders beware.