Brian Royce, the newly installed CEO of Epik, only took the helm of Epik in September 2022, but since then, Epik has quickly cascaded into chaos, failing to pay out Escrow funds that the company were entrusted with. Recently, Brian Royce has been sued, along with Rob Monster, for Misrepresentation, Embezzlement & Misappropriation.
Namepros users first reported not being able to withdraw their funds from the Epik Escrow service on 20th September 2022. Since that first post, there have been over 3,300 replies in the thread with some startling revelations – in some cases each more troubling than the last.
Brian Royce tried to dispel and quell the initial trouble that was brewing at Epik with what many Namepros users described as an ill judged podcast on DomainNameWire, stating that payments were not being made because the payment system was being upgraded. Namepros user bmugford was quoted as saying “You don’t destroy the credibility of your company even more to “upgrade” a payment system”.
In this podcast, the CEO was at best economical with the truth about Epik users being informed of the planned upgrade on the Epik platform that prevented payouts. He also made the startling confession that Escrow proceeds may not be in their own bank account, which can only be assumed that the funds from Epik Escrow transactions were co-mingled with regular company spending at Epik, and were not available to be paid out.
In recent days, DomainEmpire have made their debt with Epik public – an eye watering $1.5 million. The full text of their Trustpilot review is below…
Here’s Luigi from DomainEmpire (no need to hide my identity) and this’s a 100% genuine and verifiable review unfortunately.
I admit we worked quite well with Rob Monster (Masterbucks/Epik CEO till last Sep 2022) for the latest years. We had 4 diff. accounts at Masterbucks where we were collecting funds generated from multiple domain sales closed through the Epik.com escrow service.
All funds were deposited to our Masterbucks balances.
No problem with withdrawals until few months ago but Rob offered us a 6% yearly interest over our deposits (paid in the measure of 0.50% at the beginning of each month) so we’ve a total balance of roughly $1.5M (yes, you’re reading correctly and we’ve screenshots to proof this).
Most of our funds have been converted in Bitcoins some months back but at the end of Ocober they’ve fraudolently (and with no previous notice) reconverted anything to USD and moved the balance of 3 of these accounts to the correspoding Epik accounts.
Masterbucks.com has been ‘under maintenance’ for few weeks so they gained time to move elsewhere all their customer funds (I guess anything may have been converted to crypto but we’ll soon start a legal investigation to make light over the real facts).
Once back online, we see no real improvement made exception for a 2.5% withdrawal fee + an additional fee applied to any requested wire.
Note this was just a strategy to discourage most of their customers to withdraw funds but it didn’t work considering anyone tried to recover their own cash so they’ve just surprised us all by just ignoring such refund requests 🙂
It’s all important to note withdrawals were previously free (considering they were already earning through their escrow service fee) so they added it with no previous announcement.
Before this event, we tried to withdraw $50k with no luck considering the request was cancelled few days later and all funds moved to Epik.
After that we got an email inviting us to reinvest our funds in Epik services/domain purchases with no option to withdraw them.
We’ve emailed Rob multiple times trying to reach an amicable compromise before making the whole story public, this’s honestly the first time we post a negative review about someone and it’s something we don’t really like to do …
Lots of promises but nothing happened.
Brian Royce (the new CEO) agreed to schedule a call with our paralegal for last Friday 11/18 after that his assistant called to reschedule to Monday 11/21 but nobody called and he disappeared by ignoring the further reminder we send him by email.
Rob Monster (previous CEO) is now chairman at Epik and here’s something fun.
If you email him now, you getting an autoresponse inviting to contact Brian for any Epik related issue but … now you know the whole story 🙂
We’ve enough resources and motivations to sue this company and to make the whole story public being in the position to proof that Rob Monster deceived and frauded us despite the fact we trusted his company more than our own bank !
We’ve warned all our customers/partners and contacts to stay away from Masterbucks/Epik now becomed high risk companies near to bankruptcy.
In view of all recent facts, Epik will soon loose the Icann accreditation and all domains will be assigned to another registrar.
We’re ready to edit our review if someone from Epik will call our paralegal to clarify this matter and to refund our balance under all 4 accounts with no real intention to damage their reputation if an agreement should be reached.
While this debt to DomainEmpire is troubling enough, Kathleen Kalaf put a name to a face with an emotional video in which the 60 year old described having trouble sleeping, after the funds from her Epik Escrow transaction were not paid to her – the funds of which were ear marked for her impending retirement.
Not only this, Brian Royce has also been threatening Epik clients with legal action, in which the company will offset its costs and damages against client’s account balance if they find anyone reporting or disclosing what they believe to be information that defames the company, reported DomainNameWire on their podcast on 5th December. A pretty startling confession for the CEO of an Escrow company to be saying.
Are Epik doomed? The apparent deluge of 1 star reviews on Trustpilot since Brian Royce took charge in September certainly looks that way. Has the appointment of Brian Royce to the position of CEO been the most disasterous decision in recent history in the domain name industry? Only time will tell…
Update – Brian Royce Sued for Embezzlement
Brian Royce, the current CEO of Epik, and Rob Monster his predecessor as CEO of Epik, have been hit with a lawsuit related to a “widespread and illegal fraudulent scheme – replete with misrepresentations, embezzlement and misappropriation”. The latest victim of Epik to go public is Matthew Adkisson, who has had $307,000 stolen by Epik, when using Epik as the Escrow service for purchasing the Nourish.com domain name. Adkisson sent $307,000 for the domain to Epik, and Epik kept the money and didn’t give him the Nourish.com domain in return.
Adkisson states that his monies were used for funding other Epik expenditure, instead of being used to finance the purchase of Nourish.com – and possibly even used for personal purposes. The lawsuit states:
In a subsequent phone call, Epik, through its counsel, admitted that it owed Adkisson the $327,000 it had promised to hold in escrow, and that sometime after Adkisson wired the funds to Epik, it was misappropriated, embezzled or both. In any case, Epik conceded that the Escrow Funds were no longer available. Epik further claimed that the company was “cash strapped” and that Adkisson’s Escrow Funds were used to pay other debts.
The lawsuit submitted by Adkisson’s legal team states that Epik was running Ponzi-like elements, with funds taken in from new customers being sent to other customers to pay off their debts.
The lawsuit against Brian Royce, Rob Monster, Epik and Masterbucks suggests that criminality has taken place, with the Brian Royce facing the following charges…
- Fraudulent Mispresentation
- Violation of the Washington Consumer Protections Act
- Violations of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
- Unjust Enrichment
The case against Royce and Monster continues.
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Last Updated: May 19, 2023