I am posting this story (which is a very detailed explanation of the IBB scam Reinhart and Rodriguez got him in). For those of you that have been scammed by them through IBB, GSDC or any other company or fake promissory notes this is long, but you will see the similarities between this informiaton and your own experience with Bob and Clarissa! (I made some names all capital letters. There are a few good people that were mentioned in this that were caught in Bob and Clarissa's scams also).
"I have been working over the past three years to develop and market and a game that is based on the original table top Beer Pong. It is basically a game for two players that catches and displays successful shots, and returns all balls back to the players during the game. Beer is not a direct part of the game setup. For the purposes of this narrative I will not go into great detail, but I will say that I have made several working prototypes and have gotten lots of positive reviews from the many people who have played it. Further details can be made available as needed.
This statement is an account of my business dealings with Robert Reinhart and Clarissa Rodriguez, owners of Idea Business Builders (IBB) and GetScouted.com, who I have engaged to develop and market this game. I am deeply concerned that I have been deceived and that my confidence in their honesty has been misplaced. I have become aware of complaints from others that have been posted on internet sites such as Ripoff Report.com and ComplaintsBoard.com. It has also been suggested to me that the F.B.I. is tracking them, but this case seems to be a low priority. I seem not to be the first victim, and my experience closely matches the misfortune of others who have posted complaints on these sites.
During November, I had been networking in two Meetup.com groups; one was called "Law of Attraction" and the other was an entrepreneur group. The "Law of Attraction" meet up is where I first came across Clarissa Rodriguez. She was giving an hour long presentation on the work of Byron Katie to a gathering of around fifty people. She gave a personal story about her divorce and how she used Byron Katie’s methods to forgive and let go of her ex-husband. This workshop she was running had nothing directly to do with her GetScouted.com, a start up company which she had founded to match talented people with talent scouts. But right after her presentation was over she announced to the crowd that she was looking for people to invest in GetScouted.com, claiming that for an investment of $25,000.00 you would receive 25 cents on the dollar in interest every three months. I took one of her cards because I knew someone in a band, but other than that, I was not interested.
As usual in these meeting, I walked around the room to listen in on any conversation that sounded interesting. There where still a good number of people hanging out after the meet up was officially over and I came across a man who had a small audience of five or six people standing around him in a horseshoe. He seemed charismatic, so I stood closer to listen. When he mentioned that he worked for another company owned by Clarissa Rodriguez that was based on invention consultation and development, I suddenly got very interested. This company was called Idea Business Builders and his name was Bob Reinhart. I waited patiently while he talked about the process of becoming a client, which involved signing a non disclosure agreement between them and the inventor. I stepped forward and declared somewhat forcefully that I wanted one of the non disclosure contracts. Reinhart said very excitedly, “ I love this kid’s attitude!” while laughing and looking around at the bystanders.
I began to explain my invention to him but he quickly stopped me, saying that he didn't want to hear a word about my invention until I signed a non disclosure agreement for my own protection. Reinhart then talked about his daughter's invention, a leg holster to hold kids toys, which had made her a millionare when she was only nine years old (it’s not clear if she had become a millionare, but the story of her product development is actually true). At this point I was hooked.
Reinhart kept talking about inventions and explained that one of his clients invented a microchip that can be used to track terrorists. The microchip is fired from a sniper rifle and stays in their skin. They can then be tracked by GPS for a month. Reinhart said that the Pentagon is going to pay this woman one hundred and forty million dollars. He also talked about another client of his who invented a CO2 powered fishing pole that launches the bait by itself. Reinhart said that IBB will do a patent search for free.
Reinhart continued to talk about GetScouted.com and how it is rated (by unknown sources) to be the best place to work in America. He said “Clarissa doesn’t believe in clocks, just come and go as you please, complete as much work as you think is appropriate and be relaxed. There is a laundry service that will pick up and deliver your clothes while you are in the office. We just want you to be so happy to work here that you’re never going to want to leave”. Reinhart then did some short, informal job interviews on the spot with curious bystanders who came to him and told him what they do for a living.
He also mentioned real estate and that he could put me in a house for no money down. Reinhart stated “I just came here to support Clarissa and now I’m meeting everybody”. Reinhart only had one card on him, which I took and walked away so excited that I could barely sleep that night.
The following night, I went to the other Meetup.com group for entrepreneurs. I had a long talk with one of the people there who said that I should be sure to research the group, because it just might be a scam. He also pointed out that it might also be against the law for Rodriguez to propose her investment opportunity in public as she did, without a pro forma explaining the details and risks.
The next day, I researched inventor scams on the web. I learned that often they suck you in by asking for only a few hundred dollars at first for a “patent search”. Then they tell you this is the greatest thing they have ever seen and they need more money. They do this a couple of times until they get the money they want and then they cut off all contact with you. The advice stated that legitimate companies want their fee up front ( like Idea Business Builders ) and that there is no such thing as a company that will take care of the entire process for you. I did more research and came up with twenty-five questions for Reinhart.
I called the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau and asked if there were any complaints against Idea Business Builders. There were none on file.
That night I called Reinhart and started asking the questions. He seemed impressed that I had done my due diligence and was very relaxed and calm the whole time. He seemed like he was enjoying himself, and said "this is the most relaxed I’ve been all day”. He said he liked answering good questions. He then set up a meeting with me, which happened to be during Martin Luther King day, so his "office" at Post Office Square was closed.
I took my younger brother with me to meet Reinhart at his penthouse apartment at the new Museum Towers in Cambridge. It was very expensive and neatly kept (he even mentioned how much he was paying in rent, something around $10,000 per month).
He sat us down at a table and showed us some other inventions that he supposedly had put on the market; a stuffed doll called OO-MEE, a Yankees vs. Red Sox baseball cap checkers game and a few others.
He also showed us a picture of his wife and kids, and pointed out his daughter, Kelly who had invented the leg holster called the T-Pak. Reinhart said that other guys ( the competition ) would never bring you into their homes and show you family pictures. He asked me if I had looked up his daughter Kelly on the internet, and when it was clear that I hadn’t, he looked angry, but he held it in.
Reinhart told us about a DVD documentary that they were in the process of filming and producing. It was about the law of Attraction and how they have used it so far to manifest all of their success. Reinhart claimed that Rodriguez and himself were going to bring this story on the news to “prove” that the law of Attraction works, even in a bad economy. He told us the story of how they got their GetScouted.com office for cheap with no money down and in great condition.
Reinhart claimed that IBB will match my $25,000.00 investment with 100 to 800 thousand dollars of their own money to develop and market my game. He said he pictures this being sold at Spencer’s Gifts, Wal-Mart and Newbury Comics. Claiming he has connections in China, he said that it would be manufactured overseas. Face book and YouTube would also be very useful for advertising.
Reinhart described cocktail parties with rich investors and other successful people. He claimed I would be invited to show my game to these people.
I asked about Reinhart’s job offer as a prototype machine technician. He replied that he could not guarantee a job because I would have to be interviewed by the man in charge of prototype production.
Reinhart was not pushy or desperate in any way, and said that if I wanted to do more research then I should take all the time I needed, and if I wanted to work with another company, he would wish me luck and still give advice and support. He suggested that I call the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau because I will find that there are no complaints against them.
He said that he typically rejected around 75% of the inventions that come to him and talked about his red light yellow light green light system. Red means rejection, yellow means he will consider it after more research and green means he will go ahead with it. In preparation for this meeting, I had brought my digital camera so that I could show him a video I had made of my game being played. I also had some photographs. After he watched my video he stated “we’ve got a winner” and made a phone call to an unknown person. He said he projected “not hundreds of millions”, then paused thoughtfully and continued, “yeah millions (of dollars )”. The premise of Reinhart’s business was that for an investment of $25,000 and 50% of all profits for three years, Idea Business Builders would do a patent search, secure patent protection, do market research, undertake design development, build prototypes, and present the developed proposal to potential investors for a possible buyout.
I had told Reinhart that I had been laid off from the electricians union as an apprentice in a previous conversation. Because of this, Reinhart introduced his “special proposal”. Instead of giving the $25,000.00 fee directly to IBB, I could take that same money and invest it into GetScouted.com because Rodriguez owned both companies anyway. I would then become the only IBB client that was making money from the fee. My understanding was that I would invest $25,000 in this other company, GetScouted.com, and Reinhart would proceed to develop my game at Idea Builders. He stated that I would receive my $25,000 back in three months, along with $6,250 interest, or I had the option of letting it ride and receiving another $6,250 every three months.
Reinhart also offered to get me a job somewhere in his company as a machine operator for a prototype builder. I told him that I did not have transportation.
I indicated to Reinhart that I wanted to proceed into a contract arrangement with Idea Builders. I borrowed $30,000 on my credit cards and on January 23, 2009 turned over $14,000 to Reinhart and Rodriguez. I turned over the remaining $11,000.00 on Jan 31 when I was able to raise the funds. My plan was to use the additional $5,000.00 to pay the monthly installments until my invention started making money.
On January 23, around 9:00 in the morning, I waited outside of my apartment for Reinhart and Rodriguez to arrive. They were in a red Toyota Camry (luxury) hybrid.
I had a $14,000.00 bank check made out to GetScouted.com. I got in the back of their car and gave them the check. Bob had the photos of the invention that I gave him at our first meeting. He complimented me on the design and talked about a new type of computer fan that is used to cool the super computers at M.I.T. He described it as small, cheap, quiet and energy efficient.
Rodriguez announced in an excited voice that GetScouted.com was going to have a celebrity be the face of the company. She asked Reinhart “can we tell him (the name of the celebrity) yet? “ Reinhart replied that they could not at this moment for legal reasons.
I offered to bring them both into my apartment to show my working prototype and they refused because they were too busy. They then explained that their time was extremely valuable and that their accountant had calculated how much it was worth to the minute. They didn’t give an exact number but implied that it was a lot.
The second meeting started as before. I waited in front of my apartment with another bank check and waited for them. Clarissa arrived alone in the same red Toyota. I sat in the front seat and handed her the $11,000.00 check
Rodriguez had two copies of the Idea Business Builders contract and two copies of the promissory note. We looked over everything, signed and initialed the contract and the promissory note and shook hands.
Rodriguez asked me if I had any questions. I asked her what the $25,000.00 will be used for. She explained that marketing and advertising costs around $25,000.00 a month and she had hired the best people in the country for the job.
I asked why she doesn’t just borrow from an investor. Rodriquez claimed that she would rather make money for people she knows, instead of putting a stranger’s kid through college, and that if she borrows money from people like me, she does not have to give up any control or percentage of her company. I asked her how many companies she owns and she claimed to own seven.
I asked why the promissory note was for 25 cents on the dollar every six months and not three months like Reinhart had explained. Rodriguez claimed that it was for six months “because of what we’re doing for you”, referring to the deal we made about investing in GetScouted.com instead of paying the fee directly to IBB with no interest payment. Again, I offered to show my prototype, but she said she was too busy.
The next meeting was out in Burlington, north of Boston. Rodriguez and Reinhart said they would arrange transportation for me because I had told them that I didn’t have a car. I was told to meet the limo driver at Museum Tower Apartments in Cambridge for the trip to Burlington.
I was accompanied by my younger brother XXXX and a friend. We arrived at the scheduled time and walked into the new GetScouted.com office. It was a very large space, around 6,000 sq. feet, and very sparsely furnished. The lack of furniture suggested that the company had just moved in. There were several stacks of unopened Dell computer boxes that reached the ceiling.
A woman who was in one of the small offices was later identified as ZZZZZZ. It turns out that she also got ripped off for $25,000. Her idea was to track terrorists with implanted microchips.
Reinhart was waiting for us in the conference room with his son, Shawn. Reinhart greeted us and began to discuss the future of my invention. He was standing in front of a dry erase board. I noticed a list of names of people from the “Law of Attraction” group. They had apparently been hired by GetScouted.com and had been given different positions. AAAAAA was in charge of the inventors section. I have seen him regularly at various meet up events.
Reinhart listed all of the stages and steps to be taken and explained them all as he wrote. He claimed that a patent search had been completed and that there was nothing else out there like my invention, although he did not present any documentation to back this claim.
I had brought color copies of the computer images of the prototype that my father and I had been working on. Reinhart’s son looked them over, smiled and said he would buy this. Reinhart asked if he could keep the computer drawings that I brought in and I gave them to him. Reinhart then offered the opinion that my game would just be a fad, and would die down in about two years. His son agreed, claiming that beer pong was losing popularity.
He said that he and his son had got into some heated arguments over the direction and development of my game. Reinhart said that I should get in and then get out of the market quickly to avoid losing money when my invention eventually starts to lose popularity.
I brought up the fact that I had not yet talked to three satisfied former clients of IBB. Reinhart paused and looked very irritated. He said that I should have done all of my due diligence already and that I should have asked the question earlier. I reminded Reinhart that one of the first questions I asked him (out of my 25 questions) was to see if I could talk to three former clients who made more money than they spent on IBB. He mentioned his daughter again, and said that I “could go talk to ZZZZZZ in the other room, who is about to be offered $140 million”. Reinhart said that I would be hearing her scream for joy any minute now (I didn’t hear anything from her during my visit).
Reinhart said that GetScouted.com was his son’s idea and that he was going to become a billionaire. Reinhart also indicated that Ryan Seacrest, a finalist in the American Idol series, was going to be the face of GetScouted.com, revealing the celebrity that had been a secret before.
He mentioned an edible fork that while not making a lot of money, still found success in the market. Reinhart did not claim credit for any of its success but he seemed to suggest that any invention, no matter how ridiculous, can make money.
Reinhart talked about getting a focus group of college kids together to test the game and figure out how much they like it, and how much they would pay.
My friend asked why there were no stock options for either of the companies. Reinhart explained that they are not public companies. My friend also asked why getting a patent was almost last on the list of steps on the dry erase board. Reinhart claimed that there is a very specific order of steps that they always stick to and that they have to get investors before they pursue a patent.
Reinhart told me that I was going to be updated every week about their progress and new developments. This did not happen until I demanded it a month later.
When Reinhart talked about Rodriguez, he mentioned his task of protecting her reputation as if “she were going to be elected for president (of the United States)”, meaning that she needs to have no dirt on her.
Reinhart said that they would make their own prototype with their “development team” and compare it to what I have made. He said they would make three of them as they figure out what works and what doesn’t work. I asked if I could meet with this team and be involved in the whole process. He said “absolutely”(I never met them). He then explained that I would not be present when my game was presented to venture capitalists and other potential investors because IBB knew what to say to them. When the meeting was over, the limo transported us back to Cambridge.
On the evening of February 26, there was a presentation at the GetScouted.com office in Burlington. I learned about this event through the Meetup.com website. It featured three successful entrepreneurs; CCC MMMMM, Bob Reinhart and Clarissa Rodriguez. The topic of this seminar was how all three of them have used the “Law of Attraction” successfully to “explode their business prospects despite the naysayers, the credit crunch, and these economically challenging times”.
My father drove my brother XXXX and me to Burlington. The event was being held in the middle of the 6,000 sq. foot area and was attended by around fifty people. When I arrived, I noticed that the office was a little more developed than before, with more furniture, and a GetScouted.com banner by the entrance.
We sat down and waited for the presentation to start. There was a camera crew in the corner ready to film the whole meeting. There was a small stage with three comfortable chairs set up on it in front of us. It all looked very professional and legitimate.
Rodriguez talked about the same story that Reinhart had told me about: acquiring their new office using the “Law of Attraction”. She also told a story about someone stealing a lot of money from them in the past, and about having met her financial goals by now having a net worth of over three million dollars.
Reinhart talked about his daughter, Kelly Reinhart, and his goal of having a net worth of one hundred million dollars.
CCCC MMMM’s presentation was about his law firm and how it has evolved from the billable hours model to one based on a negotiated fee for services. He mentioned that if an attorney thinks about your case while he is sitting on the toilet, he will charge you for it. He is a practicing attorney, and his firm has represented GetScouted.com. When their presentations were over, they took questions from the audience.
I wanted my father to meet Reinhart. There was a line of people waiting to talk to him and I did not want to be rushed, so I waited until the crowd thinned out. I introduced my father and Reinhart complimented the work that he had seen previously. Reinhart asked for my dad’s contact information.
I then told Reinhart that I had just finished building a new prototype. He replied “why did you do that? I thought you were going to leave that to us”. I explained that it is something that I enjoy doing and I’m good at it. Then Reinhart said “yeah, but we’re the best at it”.
I was called by my Army Reserve unit with news that I was going to be deployed to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, as a combat medic (I had already served a tour in Iraq in 2003). This tour was to last seven months, starting in April. I was immediately worried about the potential progress of my game. In addition, I had not heard much, other than a few e-mails, from either Reinhart or Rodriguez, and this just added to my worry. Reinhart had promised to give me a weekly progress updates, but so far had not done so.
I called Reinhart with the news of my departure. He groaned and cursed before finding his composure and said we would make the most of this and claimed that he would even fly out to Wisconsin when important deals and paperwork needed to be handled.
A few days later, I called to complain about the absence of progress updates and my concern that if communication was poor now, it would only get worse after I move to Fort McCoy. Rodriguez asked me what I wanted her to do to solve the problem. I declared that I wanted weekly updates, as was promised. Rodriguez agreed, and she actually followed through with this for a couple of months. She called around 3:00 pm every Wednesday. It was usually a conference call with both Reinhart and Rodriguez together, and most of the time I was told that there are no new developments.
During one conference call I was told that that Spencer’s Gifts had looked at my idea, liked it, but said it was too big for their shelves. Reinhart explained that shelf space is valuable and stocking large products meant less room for other products. He asked if I could redesign the prototype so that it is smaller when it is folded up and packed away.
Over the course of this whole period, my father and I have spent many hours designing and redesigning various prototypes. We were able to come up with something smaller and we e-mailed the new design to Reinhart.
APRIL, MAY, JUNE, JULY 2009
I remained optimistic. I built another prototype shortly after I arrived in Wisconsin and set it up in the Recreation Center at Fort McCoy. It turned out to be quite popular and got a lot of use.
Bob called me to say that an investor was in town, about to leave for Atlanta, and needed $5,000 to secure my place as an Idea Business Builders client because I had given the $25,000.00 over to GetScouted.com. and I could not sign a contract with the investor unless I was an official client of IBB. He said I had about a week to come up with this money because the investor was not in town long. Bob offered to put down a couple thousand from his personal funds but later called back and said that some conflict of interest or legal complication seemed to prohibit Reinhart from venturing this money, so he asked me to come up with it, which I did. He claimed that this is the same investor who made his daughter a millionare.
I have worked very hard to stay positive, but to date I have received nothing except excuses, promises and elaborate stories from Reinhart and Rodriguez. My $30,000 has not been returned (although they stated several times that it was being sent by certified mail). No interest has been paid. No meetings with the “development team” or investors. Reinhart had been saying that he was working on a prototype so that it could be manufactured in China and “on the shelves” by September to catch the returning college students. Surprisingly, during this whole period, he did not request direct design input from me, nor has he seen or played on my prototypes.
He said in May that he had prototype drawings from a manufacturer that he would send to me for review. He never sent them. His story in July was that he and the investors would come out to Wisconsin to visit me, bringing along a check for $36,250 (the initial $25,000, $6,250 interest, and $5,000 extra that I paid) and a proposal. They didn’t show. Then in July Reinhart called me to say that Idea Builders was shutting down and that I would retain full control and ownership of the project. Reinhart would only stay involved to “advise me as a friend” with investors, because his main focus was now in real estate. Bob said that there was a miscommunication between him and the investors and that he was supposed to keep his mouth shut instead of telling me the investors plans, but not to worry, we ( Bob and the investor ) will be coming down to Wisconsin for real this time. When they didn’t show up again, Bob claimed that he and the investor came to Wisconsin but were too busy to meet with me.
According to Reinhart, the investors were still in Wisconsin (with a working prototype) and would soon visit me at Fort McCoy, bring the $36,250 check, along with their proposal, which included a “six figure” payment to me for design work I had already completed, and a “surprise” (which Reinhart was not at liberty to disclose). No one ever showed up.
The very latest from Reinhart is that the investors will meet with me in Times Square, New York at the end of September."