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FAX.COM "Dirty Tricks" Vice President, Charles R. Martin, Loses His Private Investigator's License & Ordered to Pay Costs of Investigation

Decision in The Matter of the Accusation against Charles R. Martin (1.8 megabytes)

May 7, 2004 - After several days of hearings in early October, 2003, the Administrative Law Judge in The Matter of the Accusation Against Charles R. Martin concluded that Martin committed numerous acts of dishonesty and fraud, largely stemming from his work on behalf of FAX.COM. As a result, Martin's Private Investigator's license was revoked, and Martin was ordered to pay investigative costs of $21,277.98.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services brought the action to revoke Martin's license due to numerous allegations including threats, false testimony, and manufactured evidence.

"Respondent's conduct, in falsifying evidence, manufacturing evidence, making false statements in court proceedings, and assisting in its illegal method of operation under the TCPA ... goes to the core of the functions which require a license..."

Administrative Law Judge David Rosenman found that the Bureau met its burden in approximately 75% of the allegations. The remaining 25% of the allegations either were not fully supported by evidence or, while credible, did not constitute a violation of law. However, the allegations that were proven and found to constitute acts of dishonesty and fraud were more than enough to pull the plug on Martin's license.

"On balance, [Martin's] versions of events were often not believable. Nevertheless, there were several instances wherein no cause for discipline was established. ... In several instances, therefore, the conclusion that there was no cause for discipline is based on a failure of [the Bureau] to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, a basis for discipline, and not because [Martin's] version of events was believed."

Judge Rosenman also commented as to the motives of the witnesses in general and TCPA plaintiffs, specifically:

"Nor was it established, as claimed by [Martin], that the plaintiffs in the TCPA lawsuits were motivated by a desire to make money. Rather, the amounts of damages claimed were usually relatively modest. Further, by the time this administrative matter was heard, there was no monetary gain they could expect; yet 7 of those plaintiffs, 2 lawyers, and 3 witnesses... came to testify. Many demonstrated a sincerely-held belief that their privacy was of demonstrable importance to them, and they felt that they had been wronged, from the initial receipt of unsolicited faxes through the small claims process that was often affected by false or fabricated evidence."

The author of this article, Robert Braver, was one of the witnesses appearing on behalf of the State of California in this matter.

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