GunPal (now GPal) was launched on November 3, 2009 as an alternative to the firearms-unfriendly PalPal service. Not 2004, as CEO Benjamin Phillip Canon claimed. That would be the same Benjamin Phillip Canon who was arrested in February ’10 for impersonating a police officer. That charge was eventually dismissed. But there’s another case a brewin’ that could put Canon on the other side of the law. The Internet Complain Center or IC3—- a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance—has GPal in its sights. Here’s the headline from their December Scam Alerts: “PAYMENT PROCESSOR POSSIBLY CONDUCTING A PONZI SCHEME”. I wonder who that could be . . .
Since January 2010, the IC3 has received hundreds of complaints regarding a website that victims reportedly used to transfer money for the sales of firearms; however, the website has not allowed them to withdraw the funds after their merchandise was sold.
The website claims to be a payment processor to be used as an alternative to other familiar online payment transfer services and was created to allow for the purchase of items that others of its kind do not allow (e.g., firearms). The website encourages consumers to use their services by advertising that they send money to consumers or anyone with an email address, an individual can easily pay for anything using the web, and sign-up is free, quick, and easy.
The website appears to have been set up as a legitimate business but shortly after operations began, customers started experiencing funding delays. Ultimately, customers who received funds only received partial payments, and those payments were delayed by months.
Additional research indicates that the money submitted for transfer may have been fraudulently misappropriated. This scam appears to have become a Ponzi scheme with previous customers being paid by funds from new customers.
Quite why IC3 (as it’s known) doesn’t refer to GPal by name is an interesting question. Even a quick troll of the Internet shows that there’s a way better than even chance that the feds are fingering Canon’s mob. For one thing, their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since June 28; commenting has been switched off.
On October 26, GunsAmerica revealed that “even though we never endorsed Gpal or integrated it into GunsAmerica, a number of our sellers did take payments through them. Many have emailed us that they are unable to withdraw their funds now and have asked for help.”
GunsAmerica left the issue an open book. “Whether you choose to use Gpal now or in the future is up to you,” they semi-cautioned. But we’ll go further and recommend that no one should use this service until these “problems” are cleared up. This also applies to the auction site bidscapes.com.
We’ll call GPal later today when they open on the left coast.