Xcentric Ventures v Smith: A Failed Attempt to Prevent a Criminal Investigation

In the second half of 2014 an Iowa district attorney, Ben Smith, filed criminal charges against Darren M Meade of Orange County, CA in the USA. These charges, including witness tampering and extortion, resulted from a protracted period of defamation on Ripoff Report of witnesses in a state murder case, perpetrated by Meade and financed by Ed Magedson. The excuse for the campaign of reputation assassination was supposedly to ‘free an innocent woman’. But it is worth noting that in March 2017 Richter’s final appeal against the murder conviction was dismissed by the Iowa Court. The Australian 60 Minutes segment provides context and background and is available on this link.

The full set of documents containing substantial evidence that Magedson paid Meade, an admitted paid reputation assassin, (and others such as Siamack ‘Sia’ Yaghobi) to write false and defamatory content on Ripoff Report for the purpose of ‘revenge’ and profit can be viewed on this link. Detailed information of the crimes perpetrated by Ed Magedson, Darren Meade and Ripoff Report employees are available on ClickaNerd’s forum.

In January 2015 Ed Magedson and Ripoff Report filed a civil lawsuit against Ben Smith in a desperate attempt to stop the criminal investigation. The lawsuit was clearly designed to obstruct justice by all parties.  On 19 April 2017 the civil case against Ben Smith was dismissed in the Iowa Court. The criminal investigation into Ripoff Report and its employees was stalled during the civil matter. Because it was not part of any deal made by Meade when the criminal charges against him for witness tampering and extortion were dropped (in May 2015), Meade is criminally liable for subsequent felonies of witness tampering and extortion.

Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire

Meade has, in fact, been named as a defendant (along with Magedson, Ripoff Report and others) in a civil case filed by one of the victims of the campaign of defamation, witness tampering and extortion funded by Magedson and primarily implemented by Meade. Dr John Pitman is a plastic surgeon and a decorated US army war hero. As noted in one of the legal documents from the case, although Dr Pitman was peripheral to the murder trial, his practice was destroyed by the disgusting, false and defamtory content written by Meade on Ripoff Report.


This matter, Pitman et al v. Xcentric Ventures, LLC et al, is set down for trial in December 2017 in the State of Virginia, USA. Meade has thus far managed to evade service but he has been located in a 12 mile radius in Orange County. It is a matter of time before Meade is found and served.

‘Legal’ Harassment by Ripoff Report and its Attorneys

Ripoff Report and its attorneys have a long history of harassing plaintiffs, witnesses and even attorneys in the many civil matters filed in US courts. For example, in 2011 Ripoff Report attempted to sue US attorneys for malicious prosecution and aiding and abetting tortious conduct because they represented their clients.

Although an Arizona judge dismissed the complaint against attorney Lisa Borodkin in 2013, Ripoff Report persisted and appealed to the 9th Circuit court. In June 2015 the complaint was dismissed by the Court Justices. The video of the court hearing can be watched on this link. As noted by Dune Lawrence in an article published by Bloomberg:

In 2011, after Los Angeles lawyer Lisa Borodkin represented plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Ripoff (which Borodkin lost), Ripoff turned around and sued her and the clients for malicious litigation. Though Ripoff lost that case, its appeal dragged on for four years. A federal appeals court eventually affirmed that Borodkin’s clients had probable cause to sue for extortion and racketeering. The clients urged the court, successfully, to publish the decision: “Xcentric has been successful in shaping an appearance of unanimous victory in the courts and twisting the law to their own ends,” the plaintiffs wrote. “Ambushing the courts and the victims with voluminous filings is one tactic. Suing the victims’ lawyers for baseless claims is another. Criminals use these tactics to send a message: ‘Don’t come forward.’”

The day after this 9th Circuit judgement was handed down, Ripoff Report ‘updated’ a false and defamatory report on Ms Borodkin.

Harassment in the Iowa Civil Case

The evidence proves that Ed Magedson and Darren Meade have the type of ‘relationship’ that can best be described as a ‘Mexican Standoff. Magedson has money, Meade is destitute but he has information on Ripoff Report’s ‘business practices’. In particular, Meade knows all about Magedson’s propensity to embark on a rampage of reputation assassination and punitive litigation against those who challenge him, or incur his wrath. The evidence submitted in the criminal matter, outlined in this blog post, and admitted by Meade in a video (view on this link) shows unequivocally that for more than two years Magedson paid him to engage in defamation, extortion and witness tampering. Meade was Magedson’s personal reputation hitman!

Meade is fond of stating that he is a journalist prosecuted for his work but he has never published anything other than posts on Ripoff Report, comments on other webpages, and tweets. In addition to the prosecutorial misconduct garbage repeated ad nauseam, Meade has accused me of hacking and extortion and most egregiously, has stooped as low as falsely accusing Michael Roberts of poisoning his beloved wife Heidi. She passed from cancer in 2016 and Michael, who cared for her, was left bereft.

It is difficult to figure out exactly when Meade is being paid by Magedson. Around the time that the Iowa civil case was heading to trial, Meade turned his ‘attention’ to publishing false and defamatory comments about Paladin PI, an Arizona private detective.

Magedson has hated John for about a decade and, like with others such as Borodkin, he relentlessly pursues them using Ripoff Report to defame and his attorneys, Maria Crimi-Speth and Adam Kunz to harass by manipulating the court system. Magedson’s propensity for relentless harassment is documented on this tape recorded by a former neighbour, John Unger.

This recent civil matter against Ben Smith was used to both intimidate John and as a ‘fishing’ expedition.  Crimi-Speth attempted to force John to provide a deposition two years after the case was filed on the basis that he was a ‘material witness’ despite the fact that they had no supporting evidence.

Even after the Iowa case was settled in April 2017 Crimi-Speth, on behalf of Ripoff Report, is STILL attempting to force John into a deposition. As noted in a motion to quash filed by John’s attorneys:

Plaintiffs are forcing Brewington to spend money to protect himself from discovery – discovery which is now invalid. But Plaintiffs are still forcing Brewington to spend money on attorneys. And Plaintiffs are now wasting this Court’s precious time by asking it to rule on an issue that Plaintiffs know is moot. Brewington respectfully requests that the Court allow him to apply for an award of the costs and fees incurred herein.

As incredulous as it appears, the Ripoff Report attorneys have demanded that the court order ‘sanctions’ against John and his attorneys after a case in which he was not a material witness was dismissed and based on a motion that they did not file. As eloquently stated by his attorney:

Never ones to let the law stand in the way of their argument, Plaintiffs did not file their request for sanctions as a separate motion, but instead filed a ‘Reply’ in support of a motion for sanctions that they had not filed in the first place. To date, Plaintiffs still have not filed a separate Motion for Sanctions as required under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11.

The relevant filed court documents are available for download on this link.