I am a freelance web developer specializing in Flash, PHP and MySQL. I answered an ad on Craigslist and began doing contract work for Mike Mann of Web Media Projects, aka Develop123.
The first project I worked on was simple script fixes which I finished in a few days. I had been promised payment as soon as I was finished, but received a story about their office being broken into. It ended up taking 3 weeks before I received anything, but I figured everyone is entitled to a little bad luck.
The second project was a bit larger, some Flash work. I did the work, but when the time came for payment I was told that the client had refused to pay the full agreed amount and that I would have to settle for half what I had been promised.
Then I did a series of small jobs and wrote several Flash games (complete with backend scripting) for an online casino. I was told that once the games were complete, the client would make a payment and I would be paid out. Then began a two month series of lies, hard luck stories and broken promises of payment. I was told numerous times "I'll call you back in 20 minutes and get you paid out", and then blown off for days at a time. Finally I told Mike I thought he as a liar. He became very abusive and told me as far as he was concerned I had already been paid for more than I had done. He threatened to "make trouble for me" if I reported any of this. The end result is that I was promised $5000 for work I did and I never saw a dime of it. As a result, I found myself in some dire financial straits and have had to scramble around for small quick projects to cover my past due bills.
Some of the work I did on early projects involved recovering Flash files. Mike told me he had "paid some guy in India" to write the programs and that the guy had refused to give him the source. So he gave me a decompile of the Flash which I was supposed to turn into a valid Flash source which could be modified. I later found the same Flash games on another site and realized he had given me stolen files to "recover".
I've checked out the various reports here and see that his MO is to take initial payments from clients, fail to deliver and keep the money. I see now that the scamming extends to work he contracts out and then fails to pay for. I wish I had checked Rip Off Reports when I first started working for him. Live and learn, I guess.
Here is an email I received when I mentioned filing a Rip Off report:
> f*ck you, *sshole. don't threaten me. you have been more than compensated for hacking a few stolen flash files.
I have me own sh*t to deal with so f*ck you and your g*ddam problems.
Keep your threats to yourself, d*ck, or you WILL have some serious problems.
(profanity *'d out by me)
In any case, if you are a contractor, don't work for this guy. He will lie and cheat you. If you are a client, don't do business with him. He will rip you off.
Patrick (web developer)
Park City, Utah