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poll Is RLE.com #ConfirmedStolen?

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Should Brent Oxley return RLE.com to the alleged rightful owner?

  • This poll is still running and the standings may change.
  • Yes, Brent should return RLE.com and sue Epik, Rob Monster, Brian Royce.

  • No, Brent should not return the domain unless court ordered.

  • Other: Please comment

  • This poll is still running and the standings may change.

Results are only viewable after voting.

Chris Hydrick

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Per a subdiscussion in the epik masterbucks thread, @bhartzer had mentioned ConfirmedStolen.com. Regarding RLE.com:

No one is going to touch a reported stolen domain with this toxic history.

This is why I like the fact that ConfirmedStolen(.com) publishes a list of stolen (and previously stolen) domain names.

Your domain?


@bhartzer hasn't responded yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing his reply.


When browsing the confirmed stolen domains, the site references RLE.com as Recovered! Citing the DomainNameWire article re: the judgement against @Rob Monster, however the domain RLE.com does not appear recovered; still forwarding to Oxley.com.


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The current domain owner @create.com (Brent Oxley) appears to have commented on that DomainNameWire.com article, but he didn't mention the domain being returned to the alleged rightful domain owner, ie the plaintiff. Brent commented:

Brent Oxley says
Rob Monster is indeed a thief and stole $121,800 from me! I purchased a domain name that he failed to deliver, and when I asked for the cash back I was informed the money was already used to cover other debts.

I have an NDA in place as part of the settlement, so unfortunately, I am limited in the details that I can provide.

I will say that I agreed to trade 3 domains, including rle.com, and some cash to settle the $121,800 that Rob stole from me.

This is the first I heard anything about rle.com’s history, and I never would have accepted it as partial payment had I known.

Hopefully, the law catches up with Rob one of these days and he serves time in prison!


-- There is an assumption that the other two domains involved in the NDA settlement were Sniff.com and Niv.com. It's worth noting that these two domains were not owned by the same RLE.com domain owner, and nobody has yet to levy a claim against those two domains. Sniff.com appears to have resold already.


@bhartzer - Did you confirm that @create.com returned RLE.com to the alleged rightful owner Robert Lee? Or is the ConfirmedStolen.com erroneously reporting the domain was recovered?

I assume a ConfirmedStolen.com service will bring controversy. Assuming, the controversy will be surrounded on how to definitively determine/confirm who is the rightful domain owner.
 
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For discussion purposes, where does it [RLE.com] belong? I created a poll for a broader discussion.

I voted: Other Please Comment

I think Brent should do his due dilligence. Research the domain first, then get in contact with the alleged rightful owner to see if Brent can be convinced the domain is stolen. It certainly looks like it was stolen, and the lawsuit/judgement against Rob Monster bolster that claim. Once Brent is convinced, I think he should return the domain to its rightful owner, then sue to recover his losses.

I don't know how, but if Brent returned the domain then sued Brian/Rob/Epik and it was deemed that the alleged rightful owner had no claim to the domain and legally BrianRobEpik had rights to sell the domain to Brent, then I guess Brent would end up getting screwed had he returned the domain without a court order. I'm no lawyer but it seems like the liklihood of this occurring is similar to the likelihood of pigs soaring.
 
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For discussion purposes, where does it belong?

In my eyes, a stolen name belongs to the person who had it stolen, neither the thief nor the person who may have inadvertently become a heeler - I'm no legal expert, but where I live, a heeler is just as guilty as a thief, regardless of whether the heeler claims he did not know anything and he will ultimately be forced to return the stolen item to the original owner, if it is provably stolen
 
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I haven't read through the case. For anyone that has, was a police report filed and what evidence was presented that the domain was actually stolen?
 
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In my eyes, a stolen name belongs to the person who had it stolen, neither the thief nor the person who may have inadvertently become a heeler - I'm no legal expert, but where I live, a heeler is just as guilty as a thief, regardless of whether the heeler claims he did not know anything and he will ultimately be forced to return the stolen item to the original owner, if it is provably stolen

A scenario I was wondering about, is what if Rob/Epik had argued that because they paid renewal fees, they had rights to the domain? Assuming Epik receiving notification of the domain being stolen in 2019 would nullify their claim to ownership by way of paying for two renewals in 2021 and 2022.

The original owner, Robert Lee, had paid for renewals up until 2019. The transfer to GoDaddy extended renewal to 2020. The transfer to Epik extended renewal to 2021. It looks like epik paid for one year renewal around April 2021 extending renewal to April 2022, then paid for another one year renewal around April 2022 extending renewal to April 2023.

Alternatively, had epik not renewed the domain, and say it didn't go to epik auctions, imagine the mess that would be created if: RLE.com dropped > Caught by DropCatch > Sold for XX,XXX at auction > Domain owner sued claiming the theft prevented renewal > Domain owner wins domain back > Auction winner sues DropCatch > DropCatch refunds Auction winner?

For anyone that has, was a police report filed and what evidence was presented that the domain was actually stolen?

Good question. Yes, a police report was filed on May 2019 and included in the case. A copy of the police report was included in a 2019 email the plaintiff sent to epik. It should be worth noting that GoDaddy received notification from the plaintiff that the domain was stolen in May 2019 as well. GoDaddy had apprx six months to lock the domain down, but failed to do so. GoDaddy seemingly ignored the police report and focused their attempts on needing the plaintiff to verify the identify of the fake address the John Doe provided GoDaddy. Meanwhile, while the plaintiff was corresponding with GoDaddy, the alleged John Doe impersonator transferred the domain to Epik in November 2019.

Summary:

25 April 1995: Plaintiff, Robert M. Lee, registered RLE.com (Network Solutions)

11 January 2016: registrant=[email protected] (Network Solutions) *WHOIS Expiration = 26 April 2019

17 January 2016: registrant=[email protected] (Network Solutions) *WHOIS updated date of: 2016-01-12T06:45:01Z

28 December 2016: WHOIS changes to (GoDaddy) * WHOIS Expiration = 26 April 2020

https://domainnamewire.com/wp-content/RLE-amended-complaint.pdf

May 2019:
14. In early 2019 Plaintiff did discover that his domain rle.com had been transferred to GoDaddyby means of impersonation and fraud.

15. Plaintiff did contact GoDaddy on or about May of 2019 and did demand the return of hisdomain name and further requested access to his domain.

16. In May of 2019 GoDaddy refused to either return the domain name or to grant Plaintiff accessto the domain name.
17. Plaintiff did inform GoDaddy that he filed a police report reporting the domain name as stolen and requested that GoDaddy engage in no further transfers of the domain name rle.com.

https://domainnamewire.com/wp-content/19-CIV-07263-Declaration-in-Support-ROBERT-M-LEE.pdf

Declaration:
18. After learning that the domain had been transferred without my consent, I reported to the police that the domain name rle.com stolen on May 23, 2019. Specifically, I did report the theft to the Foster City police department and they generated a police report.
Declaration:
21. In May of 2019 I did contact Godaddy.com and informed them that the domain was stolenfrom me and demanded them to return it to my care.

22. From discussions with Godaddy.com I am informed and believe that JOHN DOE kept theregistration of rle.com under the name “ROBERT LEE” but that he provided a differentphysical address, phone numbers and email address than my own.

23. Specifically, JOHN DOE provided the address: 319 Maple Ave, South San Francisco CA94080.

24. In 2019 I did see where the address “319 Maple Ave, South San Francisco CA 94080” shouldbe, and it does not actually exist. There is no building at the location where such an addressshould be; there are buildings with addresses higher and lower on the avenue, but the address“319” itself does not exist.

25. In an abundance of caution, I mailed a certified letter to 319 Maple Ave, South San FranciscoCA 94080 demanding my domain back. This letter was returned unopened as undeliverable.

26. JOHN DOE also used a different email address for the registration [email protected].

27. In 2019 I did email this address without any response.

28. JOHN DOE also provided a different phone number than my phone number; I called thisnumber to no effect.

29. When I requested that Godaddy return the domain to my care they indicated that they wantedto verify I was the domain holder and asked for a copy of my driver’s license.

30. I provided my driver’s license to GoDaddy, and they refused to provide access, noting that myaddress did not match the fake address 319 Maple address they had on file (the address givenby JOHN DOE).

31. While I was corresponding with GoDaddy in November of 2019, JOHN DOE then transferredthe domain name to a different hosting service EPIK INC.

November 2019:
18. In November of 2019 GoDaddy did transfer the domain name rle.com to Epik.


December 2019:
20. On or about December 11, 2019 Plaintiff did contact Epik through its owner and agent RobMonster and did demand the return of his domain name rle.com and further requested access tohis domain rle.com.

21. On or about December 11, 2019 Epik, through its agent Rob Monster, refused to either returnthe domain name rle.com or to grant Plaintiff access to the domain name unless and untilPlaintiff purchased additional products from Epik.

22. Plaintiff refused to purchase additional products from Epik and so Rob Monster did refuse toreturn the domain name rle.com to Plaintiff.

23. Epik has advertised the domain name rle.com for sale for the price of $75,000

Declaration:
35. On December 5, 2019 I did contact EPIK INC. by email informing them of that my domain rle.com had been stolen from me and that I wanted it returned. Attached to this email I didprovide a copy of the police report I filed with the Foster City police department. Attached tothis declaration as EXHIBIT A is a true and correct copy of the email I sent on December 5,2019.

36. On or about December 11, 2019 I did have a phone call with EPIK INC. through its owner andagent ROB MONSTER.

37. I learned during the December 11, 2019 phone call with ROB MONSTER that the domainrle.com was still hosted with EPIK INC.

38. I learned during the December 11, 2019 phone call that the domain was still registered to“ROBERT LEE” but now the stated address of ROBERT LEE was a location was in France(350 Chemin du pre Neuf, La Mure, Isere, France 3835).

39. Using google maps I can see that 350 Chemin du pre Neuf is an industrial warehouse.

40. I explained to ROB MONSTER in my phone call of December 5, 2019 that the domain rle.comwas taken by JOHN DOE who was impersonating me and I then demanded that the domainname be returned to my custody and control.

41. ROB MONSTER admitted to me during this phone call that he and EPIK INC. had the abilityto return the domain rle.com to my custody.

42. During this conversation ROB MONSTER did not ask me for any kind of additional proof toverify that the domain was stolen, or that I was the true Robert Lee. For example, he did notask me for a driver’s license (like GoDaddy did) to verify my identity. Notably, he also did notask me to establish a chain of title back to Network Solutions.

43. In addition, at no point did ROB MONSTER indicate that he needed to contact JOHN DOE totry and sort out who the true “Robert Lee” and owner was.

44. Instead, ROB MONSTER appeared to believe me that the domain was stolen.

45. However, ROB MONSTER told me that he would only return the domain to my control undercertain conditions.

46. During the conversation I had mentioned I was a web designer and owned other valuabledomain names. ROB MONSTER immediately expressed an interest in hosting them.

47. ROB MONSTER told me that rle.com would only be returned to my control if I transferred allmy other domains to EPIK INC.

48. ROB MONSTER indicated I would not be charged any money for the return of rle.com, and hedid not mention any possible problems with taking the domain name from JOHN DOE when hepresented this proposed agreement.

49. I understood from ROB MONSTER that if I refused to transfer all my other web domains toEPIK INC. that rle.com would not be returned to me under any circumstances.

50. During my conversation with ROB MONSTER he represented that he alone was making thedecision whether to return my domain name to me, he at no point referred to any sort ofexternal policy or legal requirement that dictated a procedure for returning the domain name tome.

51. At no point did I consent for EPIK INC. or ROB MONSTER to host or have control over mydomain name rle.com. In fact, I protested their continual control of the domain, and I made thisprotest known to EPIK INC. and ROB MONSTER on December 11, 2019 during our call.

52. I refused ROB MONSTER’s offer, and the domain has remained with EPIK INC and ROBMONSTER to this day.

53. I also wish to bring to the court’s attention that on December 9, 2019 EPIK INC did post thedomain name rle.com for sale at $75,000. Attached as EXHIBT B is a true and correct copy ofthe advertisement from the EPIK INC. website.

June 2020
54. On June 5, 2020 my friend Kimberly Cane approached ROB MONSTER and did ask howmuch it would cost to purchase the domain name rle.com. ROB MONSTER represented inwriting that “You should expect close to $100K if not higher” for the purchase of rle.com. Adeclaration of Kimberly Cane is being submitted concurrently with this declaration.

July 2020
55. On July 6, 2022 my friend James De Rin did approach ROB MONSTER and asked how muchit would cost to purchase the website rle.com. ROB MONSTER represented in writing that the value of the domain “is well into 6 figures…” A declaration of James De Rin is beingsubmitted concurrently with this declaration.

April 2021:
The plaintiff requested
55. Plaintiff asks that defendants Epik and Rob Monster, and JOHN DOE AKA “ROBERT LEE,”be enjoined and required to return the property rle.com to his person.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment, as follows:

i. For a preliminary and permanent injunction restoring Plaintiff’s internet domain name;
ii. For a permanent injunction returning the internet domain name rle.com as well as forfeitureand return of any and all related data;
iii. For injunctive relief enjoining all Defendants and all persons or entities acting in concert orparticipation with therewith;
iv. For costs of suit herein incurred;
v. For General and Special Damages;
vi. For compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at trial;
vii. For punitive and exemplary damages;viii. For interest on damages.
ix. For recovery of attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses incurred in this action; and
x. For such other and further relief as the court deems proper

September 1st, 2022:
Brian Royce appointed Epik CEO

September 22nd, 2022:
Epik sent an email with a list of domains it was trying to sell, RLE.com included.

September 29th, 2022:
WHOIS updates from Epik to Namecheap (presumably to Brent Oxley) in exchange for Brent to settle the $121,800 owed to him for an incompleted domain purchase where epik collected the money, couldn't deliver the domain, and was informed the money was already used to cover other debts. The deal which is apparently under an NDA allegedly involved 3 domain names + cash. He confirmed RLE.com was apart of the trade, and I guess the other two domains are Sniff.com and Niv.com. In response to the DomainNameWire.com article, Brent said, "This is the first I heard anything about rle.com’s history, and I never would have accepted it as partial payment had I known."

09 MAY 2023:
https://domainnamewire.com/wp-content/RLE-default-judgment.pdf

6. Court Judgement is hereby entered pursuant to Cal Cod Civ Proc 585(b) in the amount of $486,432.

7. Judgement is for plaintiff Robert M. Lee and shall be entered against each of EPIK INC and Rob Monster.

After writing this post, researching historical WHOIS and reading the case, I think it's abundently clear the rightful owner of RLE.com should be the original registrant aka the plaintiff, Robert M. Lee.

Though, I am confused why the court judgement didn't inlcude:

(1) For a preliminary and permanent injunction restoring Plaintiff’s internet domain name;
(2) For a permanent injunction returning the internet domain name rle.com as well as forfeitureand return of any and all related data;"

Am I missing something?
 
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Though, I am confused why the court judgement didn't inlcude:

(1) For a preliminary and permanent injunction restoring Plaintiff’s internet domain name;
(2) For a permanent injunction returning the internet domain name rle.com as well as forfeitureand return of any and all related data;"

Am I missing something?

My guess is that:
a. Brent wasn't sued.
b. The court doesn't have the authority to order the return of the domain.

How would you feel if you got an email one day saying a domain was removed from your account? No notice and no chance to defend yourself.
 
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How would you feel if you got an email one day saying a domain was removed from your account? No notice and no chance to defend yourself.

Are you referring to:

(A) the plaintiff who had the domain stolen from him?

(B) the John Doe who Rob/Epik transferred to domain from?

(C) if an authority removes the domain from Brent's account?

To answer you question, how would I feel if one day I had a domain go missing from my account without notice?

If I believed in ghosts, I guess I'd call Ghost Busters!... But if it was deemed a legal issue, I'd compile as much information as possible and depending on the value of the domain and surrounding situation, I'd call @jberryhill! Who ya gonna call?
 
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Are you talking about the plaintiff who had the domain stolen from him?

Are you talking about the John Doe who Rob/Epik transferred to domain from?

Or, are you talking about if an authority removes the domain from Brent's account?

To answer you question, how would I feel if one day I had a domain go missing from my account without notice?

If I believed in ghosts, I guess I'd call Ghost Busters!... But if it was deemed a legal issue, I'd compile as much information as possible and depending on the value of the domain and surrounding situation, I'd consider hiring @jberryhill! Who ya gonna call?

I was talking about an authority removing the domain from Brent's account. While I can sympathize with the plaintiff, that doesn't mean Brent shouldn't get a chance to contest the removal and defend the domain. Especially considering it was a default judgement with apparently no evidence other than a police report. There should be actual evidence.
 
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I was talking about an authority removing the domain from Brent's account. While I can sympathize with the plaintiff, that doesn't mean Brent shouldn't get a chance to contest the removal and defend the domain. Especially considering it was a default judgement with apparently no evidence other than a police report. There should be actual evidence.

That's a great point!

Since Brent Oxley wasn't included in a court order, would it still be legally possible to force the transfer out of his account?

Technically speaking, If a court orders the domain to returned to the plaintiff, can verisign or icann do an end around the registrar namecheap and move the domain out of Brent's NameCheap account returning the domain back to Robert Lee's Network Solution? Or would NameCheap the registrar be notified, then it would be up to NameCheap whether to comply with said court order / contact the registrant Brent?

I don't think it's likely that the domain would be removed without Brent being notified, either by (a) being served a court order or (b) being notified by his registrar nameCheap.

I guess I was just thinking if a domain reaches the point of #ConfirmedStolen and there is enough information to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the domain is stolen, at which point does the new domain owner (Brent) take that into consideration and voluntarily returns the domain (RLE.com) to the original domain owner (Robert Lee) preventing the original registrant (Robert Lee) from having to file a suit against the current domain owner (Brent)?

if Brent were to return the domain on his own and sue BrianRobEpik for selling him a stolen domain, would Robert Lee's police report + Rovert Lee's court case be enough evidence to convince the courts that BrianRobEpik did indeed sell him a stolen domain?
 
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You'd think that after all this time, the rightful owner would have contacted me to tell me that the domain was stolen. I’m going to wait for them to contact me first and, at such time, confirm their legitimacy before I make any rash decisions.

In the meantime, contracts need to be reviewed and conversations need to take place. This name is all but worthless to me, as any potential buyers will walk once they they hear about potential legal issues.
 
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