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DIGGING DEEPER: Webmaster gone rogue

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A Tucson businessman claimed the webmaster he hired has gone rogue. In the process, he is losing $100,000 a month in sales.

According to the businessman, the webmaster is also stealing from customers who are buying products and not receiving the merchandise.

Fred Stubenrauch owns Copper Ventures, LLC out of Kansas City.  He lives in Tucson now while his son handles the manufacturing in Kansas City.

Stubenrauch said he has lost over $500,000 worth of business.

"On top of COVID(-19), it's been nightmare," he said.

His business manufactures all types of copper products from light switch plates to lampshades. He also sells sheets of copper.

He said last fall, he hired Eric Wasser from Fresno, Calif. as his webmaster.

"He's put a big big hit on my business," Stubenrauch said.

The businessman claimed Wasser has taken over domains he has owned for years.  

"He's taken advantage of the domains I had and directed them to his fraudulent website," Stubenrauch said. "He's literally taking about a $100,000 from people."

People like Bob Dickman and his wife from California, who ordered merchandise and never received it.

Dickman said he spoke with the man who claimed he was the owner several times.  

"I finally sent him some money," he said. "We were pretty excited to get that material because we're doing a big renovation."

Dickman sent him over $1,000 for the merchandise.  

"We didn't receive it," Dickman said. "My wife tried to get the money from the credit card company and that didn't pan out."

Stubenrauch added, "He's a master out there on the internet being able to erase stuff, clean stuff. The guy, he's a serious criminal."

He said he had not been able to reach Wasser since May.  

"If you can't communicate with your webmaster or he decides to pull something, you cannot access your stuff online," Stubenrauch said.

He filed police reports with the Kansas City Police Department, the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the FBI.

"You have to have the FBI or someone with real legal authority to change or remove a person's website," he said.

Dickman has a message for the former webmaster, "You reap what you sow and you will be held accountable from a very higher spirit."

Stubenrauch said he is not giving up and will continue with his business and will work with law enforcement to bring his former webmaster to justice.

Dickman is now doing business with the real owner of the company.

He said Stubenrauch had gone over and above to come up with the right shade of copper for his remodeling project.

The Digging Deeper team tried contacting Wasser and he has not responded.

For information on the FBI Cyber Crimes Unit, visit fbi.gov.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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