Perhaps you’ve seen the image to the right, and some variation of it on the internet as a profile image or perhaps even on someone’s vehicle as a bumper sticker. On almost every news-related Facebook page, I’ve seen at least one person with a profile picture like this. In every gun group or outdoors forum I’ve belonged to recently, this image constantly pops up from “three percenter” members.
This graphic represents the very popular page and website that calls itself “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children,” which is big with members of the Oath Keeper crowd, and far-right, anti-government fanatics who are convinced that President Obama has plans to do things like put them in FEMA camps or institute sharia law.
The creator of the Facebook page “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children,” who is also the owner and founder of the website with the same name, is standing accused by a former admin of defrauding his followers. In addition to that, Rick Ferran is accused of not paying the individuals who worked to build the right-wing website, despite making hundreds of thousands of dollars from donations and sales of merchandise designed for conservative militia members and supporters.
In a post on his new right-wing page called “We are III%,” a former admin who calls himself Robert or “Barr Phite” claims that Rick Ferran mismanaged money and also accuses him of abusive behavior both toward people who worked for him, as well as his own wife.
In a story I wrote about Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children last year, I explained that there is a small but quite profitable market out there composed of rabidly anti-Obama individuals, some of whom are known as “three percenters.” Three percenters are people who believe in the possible need to overthrow the United States government, even through violent means if necessary. Many of them also think that President Obama is a tyrant, an agent of a foreign government or even the Anti-Christ. Some members are also current military, veterans or even members of law enforcement that call themselves “Oath Keepers” who claim that they are obliged by the oath they swore when enlisting to resist laws or orders believed to be unconstitutional. In other words, these are some very heavily-armed and potentially very dangerous individuals who make the geriatric protesters at local Tea Party rallies look like liberal pacifists in comparison.
Out of all of the anti-government three-percenter Facebook pages and websites, probably none were more popular and drew more traffic (and money) than Rick Ferran’s “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children,” which had well over 600,000 likes on their original Facebook page. In fact, they even used the now-infamous image of me as a child sitting on a bridge as part of their advertising prior to Facebook taking down their original version of the page. They kvetched about me filing a copyright infringement complaint against them in a long rant, a portion of which follows:
In the great scheme of things, petty complaints are but a bump on the pickle of society. But in Facebook, petty complaints by roving liberals can get your page taken down. For Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, if it isn’t complaints about the content of postings, it’s complaints about using someone else’s pictures. And Facebook itself loves to attack Uncle Sam’s because it’s, well,… the antithesis of who they are. So any chance they get, they’re on it.
Who has the evil intentions here?
Who complained about the above picture? The people who created it. That’s right, the photo of an innocuous country scene with no sexual content or off color remarks was the subject of a complaint by Whiskey and The Morning After Blog (WATMAB). They were complaining…wait for it… because it was Uncle Sam’s that posted it on their page.
They claimed that the photo fell under the DCMA, which is the “Digital Millenium Copyright Act.” Only one problem: it has no copyright symbol, and the photo itself tells people to share it.
That picture was shared by Right Wing News over 21,000 times and is still posted on their website, with the statement that they “stole” it from Uncle Sam’s. So what’s the problem? It’s about “who” not about what. (Source)
That’s right, this group used my image without authorization to promote their money-making website which claimed to be helping veterans, and then accused me of being part of a liberal plot to take them down. Pretty funny, huh?
Anyhow, after Facebook first removed the original 600,000+ page, Rick Ferran and his organization managed to rebuild a second Misguided Children page which got up to about 372,000 before Facebook terminated that one as well for reasons unknown. Now that Mark Zuckerberg’s newest algorithm has choked off pages and their reach to a tiny percentage of what they were even a few months ago, his newest version of the page has a little over 18,000 likes – a mere fraction of their past numbers.
Now Mr. Ferran is allegedly $20,000 or more in the hole and still continuing to take money for merchandise orders he can’t fulfill, according to the post on the rival three-percenter page.
You see, here’s the unrecoverable position that Uncle Sams Misguided Children is in. It is over $20k in the red now. There’s around 400 orders at the time of this writing that cannot be completed due to lack of money, nor can the money be refunded due to the money being spent. Rick Ferran/Tank, to this day continues to accept shirt orders from the BigCartelstore, and attempts to keep the money. Most people simply wait too long, you can only do a Paypal Dispute within so many days of purchase. (Source)
According to the accusations, Rick Ferran’s Paypal account took in over half a million dollars between January 2013 and August 2014, but the organization itself is $20,000 in debt:
From Jan 01, 2013 to August 25, 2014 the total USMC revenue intake on the PayPal account is $559,543.17 gross, $17,426 paid in PayPal fees, a net of $542,117.17 – does that seem like doing a lot with little to you? I am furious. The warehouse hasn’t been paid in months, the cable was shut off there, shirt orders are behind by 400 orders never to be recovered with more continuing to be ordered, and rarely has he ever paid anyone helping him out. He states MisguidedChildren has been around since sometime in 2011, I have no idea how much was taken in prior to the first PayPal payment on February 1st, 2013. What I do know, is that during this time a total of $514,181.00 was transferred from PayPal to his personal bank account. At this point, it seems that Misguided is around $20,000+ in debt now, and growing. He’s looking for investors, would you invest in this record?
So where did the money go? Apparently nobody other than Rick Ferran and perhaps a couple of his other associates know. He has not shown any proof that the money went to any veterans charity like Wounded Warrior Project or anything else to help veterans other than his own bank account. On the same website where you can send money for merchandise you probably won’t receive, he has a donation tab with this blurb:
Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children is fighting along side of patriots placing everything on the line to wake up, motivate and lead our fellow patriots and take back America. We have been attack and censored numerous time and remove our voice that threatens the corrupted politicians and government elites. They fear us and we will continue raising our voice on important issues affecting all American Citizens. We appreciate and thank you for your kind support and we will make sure we put it to good use as always! If you would like to endorse Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children on your next event , please email [email protected] (Source)
Yes, not only is this individual apparently taking people’s money via Paypal and hoping they wait long enough to where a dispute cannot be filed, he’s also actively soliciting donations and promising to put them “to good use.”
However, this isn’t an isolated incident. As The Daily Beast and Pro Publica first reported last month, a group called “Move America Forward” which claimed to be helping soldiers was also funneling funds not to help veterans, but the bank accounts of their founder’s political cronies within the Tea Party. They aren’t alone either. Even Sarah PAC spends the vast majority of the money they take in on undisclosed expenses, not candidates.
Whether it is Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children allegedly defrauding angry, anti-Obama three percenters or elderly residents of The Villages lining up to buy Sarah Palin’s latest book, the saying “there’s a sucker born every minute” has never rung so true. You can read the entire accusation here.
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