Funnyjunk's lawyer asks judge to stop charitable donation through IndieGoGo by The Oatmeal

Charles Carreon, the lawyer whose baseless legal threats against webcomic The Oatmeal made him an Internet laughingstock, is now seeking an injunction ordering IndieGoGo not to disburse the more than $220,000 donated by Oatmeal fans to a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Foundation that was started to mock Carreon and his client, Funnyjunk. The crude editorial cartoon below appears on Carreon's site.

“If IndieGoGo pays Inman the money in the Charitable Fund, and Inman personally donates the money to NWF and ACS, he will be unjustly enriched by receiving a large tax write-off that should properly be allocated pro-rata to the 14,406 small donors who contributed to the Charitable Fund,” Carreon writes. “Pilfering very small amounts of money from very large numbers of people is a stock mechanism for conducting computer and Internet fraud. Preventing Inman from exploiting the giving public in such a fashion is in the public interest.”

FunnyJunk lawyer aims to halt distribution of "BearLove" money


  1. This guy here… Needs to just let go. Things are only going to get worse for him, exponentially so if he keeps attacking money headed to charity.

      1. Actually, a lot of people expect that Carreon’s actions (being completely unjustified and designed to crush Inman’s personal statements) will lead to an anti-SLAPP lawsuit. That would certainly be a fitting end to Carreon’s saga. And, hopefully, his career.

        1. If he is disbarred, I suggest that everyone on the internets send him “Congratulations” cards for his hard work towards that accomplishment. 

          1. If you do, make sure it’s just in his spirit.

            You wouldn’t want him to get the tax receipt.

    1. I actually feel really bad for the guy.  I hope at some point he realizes he needs psychiatric help before this continues to spiral even more for him.

      1. I do not see the slightest cause to feel sorry for him. He is a professional abuser of the legal system who vowed to find the means, no matter how specious,  to frustrate the plans of those he fees are his opponents. To feel sorry for him plays into his hands. Would you feel sorry for the misguided conduct of a brutal dictator?

        1. Would you feel sorry for the misguided conduct of a brutal dictator?

          Yes, I would.  I would harbor the brutal dictator and make him cookies.

          1. Yes, pies might be good. I almost forgot to mention how much I love giving brutal dictators hot stone massages as well. You know, for a job well done and all that.

        2. “Would you feel sorry for the misguided conduct of a brutal dictator?”
          No. Why? Is Carreon also a brutal dictator?

          1. Frankly, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if Carreon began wearing an old military uniform and started telling everyone he’s Napoleon.

      2. On the Internet, everyone is a mental health professional who can diagnose and recommend without a personal consultation!

        1. Well, he’s either a crazy asshole or a sane double-asshole.  Which would you prefer?

        2.  If Cowicide had said Carreon was a sociopath or made any sort of specific assertion you’d have a point, but they didn’t.  Stating that somebody should maybe see a shrink is a long, long way from making a professional mental health diagnosis. It’s just noting that the person’s behavior seems abnormal and in this case a bit self-destructive. Save your outrage for when somebody starts quoting the DSM.

        3. I don’t need a degree in agriculture to know what bullshit smells like.

          I also don’t need to be a licensed clinical psychiatrist to know that a guy wearing an armadillo as a hat and screaming racial slurs at a fire hydrant probably has some issues which require medication.

          1. > a guy wearing an armadillo as a hat and screaming racial slurs at a fire hydrant probably has some issues which require medication

            I am not aware of anyone else observing these behaviours in Carreon. Could you provide a YouTube link or some other source?

    2.  Especially since it looks like he’s way off-base on the logic of his suit.  The only way Inman can declare a tax write-off for donating the money is if he declares the incoming money as income.  If anything Inman will owe excess taxes because the deductions for charitable contributions are subject to thresholds, and he will only be able to write off a portion of the donations.

      Even with his bid to acquire standing, Carreon’s case is weak. First of all, he is alleging fraud on a return/estimate that hasn’t even been filed yet. There is no fraud until the invalid paperwork is actually presented. Second, as discussed above, if the papers are filed correctly, there is still no gain for Inman at anybody’s expense. Third, even if  Inman files fraudulent tax forms that declare the contributions without declaring the income, there is no loss to Carreon and the other contributors.

      Carreon’s claim for loss seems to be that he is losing a tax write off on his donation that Inman is taking in his stead, but that is not the case: if Carreon donates directly to  ACS and NWF, he qualifies for a write-off because they are qualifying non-profits. But nothing on IndieGoGo indicates that contributions to Inman’s fund are tax deductible.  So Carreon knows going in that he is not entitled to a write-off, therefore there is no loss on his part.

      (Note: IANAL, IANACPA: The law and/or the accounting rules may not conform to logic and my personal experience with income taxes.)

      (Note2: Carreon’s implicit assumptions about the way charitable contribution deductions work make me wonder about how he calculates his own tax returns. Could be interesting fodder for an IRS auditor.)

      1. Cameron’s bid to acquire standing is particularly weak because he comes in with unclean hands (I love that phrase): He was in a dispute with Inman before he donated in an attempt to acquire standing, and he clearly entered into a transaction with an organization he alleges to be fraudulent simply to acquire standing. Courts tend to take a dim view of this.

      2. This is a very clever way for Carreon to be able to proclaim himself the victor.

        Eventually, the money will be distributed to the charities without any fraud on the part of Inman. Once that happens Carreon will be able to take credit for the money getting to the charities without Inman benefiting financially. He’ll be able to crow that his lawsuits stopped Inman from ripping off the donors. The reality of those claims will be immaterial unless Inman pursues a libel suit. Given the state of US law, proving libel will be difficult, as Carreon’s erratic behavior will in and of itself constitute a defense against an accusation of malice. We already know from the original Funnyjunk incident that Inman is more inclined to drop things like this than pursue them. Legal battles don’t interest him.

        Carreon gets publicity, the charities get their money, and most of the legal battle is taken care of by pro bono work. What’s more, Carreon probably doesn’t have reason to care about the common Internet perception of him. From a professional point of view, all that really matters is how potential clients see him, and he can craft that narrative in the mainstream media.

        This is a win-win for Carreon. All he needs to come out on top is for the money to get to the charities.

        1. Given that everyone I’ve seen commenting on this story agrees that Carreon’s behavior is ridiculous (and in your view, so obviously erratic that a court would basically rule him to be a harmless nut)… how is that supposed to impress potential clients, and who’s supposed to give a damn what he claims credit for? He’d be “coming out on top” only in his own mind, unless you mean that having caused someone else aggravation is its own reward.

  2. This guy just keeps going and going.

    Someone find the hidden panel on this guy’s back and take out the Energizer batteries someone stuck in there.

    1. You can make a reference to the Energizer bunny – and we can all get it –because the former Eveready Battery Company spent a shitload of money to secure the mindshare.

      Carreon’s now earning massive mindshare for the mere cost of filing an injunction and hiring Shepard Fairey (IMHO) to draw up a poster of his own.

      Connect the dots.

      1.  Yeah, but the difference is that my mindshare for Energizer tells me that it’s a good battery I’ve had consistent experience with, and to buy it over other choices. My developing mindshare for this guy says “don’t touch with a 20′ pole”.

        1.  Or in my case, “touch with a 20′ pole repeatedly and with a certain amount of enthusiasm.”  But then, I believe in corporal punishment in the case of adults acting like spoiled rotten little curtain monkeys.

          1. Batteries are purchased by consumers to keep their electronic devices alive.  The longer the battery life, the better the product.

            Lawyers are purchased by vengeful people who wish to smite their enemies. The bigger the asshole, the better the smiting.


          2. In reply to caopoiesis

            this guy seems to be a massive asshole, but the smiting funnyjunk dished out seems to be minimal. no respectable company will align with that… “pepsi hires idiot for lawyer” is not a good headline

          3. In replay to mralistair

            Agreed that Carreon’s target demographic is not the Fortune 500.  However, civil suit-wise the vengeful twit market’s big in America, and they love their 15-minute celebs.

          4. @boingboing-b250584e378474b56af391b50c02864d:disqus – Lawyers are mostly purchased by people who actually want to achieve some kind of legal outcome for their money. Carreon has given no one any reason to believe he can win a lawsuit, he’s just made himself look like one of the vengeful twits you think he’s advertising to. I think even vengeful twits generally prefer to hire a lawyer who knows more than they do, and who can go five minutes without misstating the law so badly as to invite charges of malpractice.

            As for your comment below, that Boing Boing is knowingly playing up Carreon in a “game of enablement”… as if it’s clearly suspicious for a blog like this to write several times about the same subject, when that subject happens to involve (a) humor on the Internet, (b) people with over-the-top personalities on the Internet, and (c) dramatic legal hassles involving the above… I’d say the only way this could be a more natural subject for Boing Boing is if Charles Carreon were made out of Legos.

          5. I’d say the only way this could be a more natural subject for Boing Boing is if Charles Carreon were made out of Legos.

            And badly photoshopped.

        2.  Not necessarily.

          Keep in mind, from a professional point of view he only needs to care about potential clients, not the Internet at large. If he can craft the narrative to his advantage in the media outlets that his targeted clients read, then he wins hands down. Why would he care if a large percentage Boing Boing readers have a negative opinion of him if he can get one or two favorable articles on FOX news or MSNBC?

          Most televangelists have an exceptionally bad rep on the general Internet, but that increased publicity translates into more donations from their faithful. Being willing to antagonize the entire Internet in order to represent your client can be seen as an advantage. Who doesn’t like a lawyer who stands up to bullies?

          1. Precisely.

            Meantime, we all keep diligently reading about Carreon courtesy of Boing-Boing (which, alas, is one of the dots to connect in this game of enablement).

  3. But but but they aren’t registered, and I sued the AG of CA, and they only said $20K give me the rest, ZOMG HES GONNA GET A TAX WRITE OFF!!!!!!!

    Take away his bar card, it is fairly obvious he lacks the mental faculties  to continue practicing law.

    1. Seriously, even taking into account that he’s not much of a human being, he’s really bad at the law part.

      A tax writeoff is only illegal if Inman actually takes a fucking tax-writeoff. It’s not something that happens automatically because a transaction occurred on the Internet. And the same goes for the 14k donors.

      1. Even if Inman were to take the tax writeoff, I would be about as confident in letting just-some-guy-who-passed-the-bar predict how legal such as move is as I would be in having just-any-dude-with-‘MD’-in-his-title remove an appendix…

        Passing the bar in a given state theoretically allows you to hang out your shingle and offer just about any flavor of legal service, just as getting an MD theoretically allows you to do virtually anything medical; but both ignore the significant amount of actual specialization that occurs.

        You want to go after somebody for improper tax practices? I do hope that you have your tax attorney hat, and possibly your accounting sidekick, ready. 

        If Inman were to go spend the cash on hookers and blow you’d have a much more straightforward case. As it is, though, punching wildly in the murky waters of tax law because of your well-publicized vendetta against somebody looks fairly risky.

      2.  Is it even illegal if he takes it?  I mean, if he has to declare the $200K as income, then the fact that he donated it to charities should mean that he doesn’t pay taxes on that income – which is the whole point of the tax write-off.

        1. Yes, This. I’m neither a lawyer nor so fortunate in my income as to have to itemize my tax-deductible expenses, but Carreon appears to be wrong on the law here. If he is misrepresenting the law to the judge or slandering Inman with false allegations of intent to commit tax fraud, there could be real consequences.

          The $200k, if it’s ever actually in his hands rather than merely conveyed by him to the recipients (and I’m guessing it’s the latter in any case) would perhaps be taxable income precisely balanced by the deduction for giving it to recognized charities. The only way it’s a tax-deductible donation is if he has to report receiving it as income in the first place. In fact, if he indeed is receiving it as income, it will presumably cost him extra money as he will have to pay an accountant to make sure he’s ok with donating it, and not for example liable to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax. My knowledge of tax law could only laughably even be described as vague, but if his actual, normal, taxable income is typical for a cartoonist, and he has to declare $200k of income balanced by a tax deduction, the AMT becomes a real threat: a single person with a declared income of say $250K but paying taxes on $50k (about $6500 or less in federal taxes) because they’ve deducted $200k in charitable donations could probably run afoul of the AMT pretty badly. But I assume he’s getting advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about (unlike, say, me or Carreon) and so this won’t be a problem.

          1.  Not only that, but Carreon’s suing because of what Inman might do when he files his taxes next year, even though he’d have no standing to file even after the fact.

          2. Inman makes ~500k annually, with the bulk of that (~350k, IIRC) from product sales and the remainder from ad revenues.

            If he is not already in AMT hell, this additional 200k is not likely to do that.

  4.  Zen, I hate it because you are 100% right. Talk about hitting the nail on the head – you got it.

    And as for the tax write off, doesn’t he have to claim it before you can complain about him claiming it?

  5. Sure, that’s a large tax-deductible contribution, but it’s of a large amount of income (the money he gets from IndieGoGo). So it cancels out, and Imman is not a penny richer, taxwise or otherwise, from this endeavor.

    Dumb lawyer needs to put his thinking cap on.

    1. There’s also the fact that, while Inman did promise that the actual dollars would end up at the charities, rather than in his pockets, it would be vanishingly unlikely that anybody of sound mind would ignore the fact that people donating through Inman’s campaign, rather than directly, were almost certainly performing a voluntary act in support of Inman(or against Carreon, which probably doesn’t help his rage any)…

      That wouldn’t absolve Inman of any flavor of accounting shenanigans; but it’s not exactly as though he duped those poor, trusting, souls on the internet by impersonating a charity. It was always pretty obvious that, if you wanted to save the bears directly, you could just give money to the charity directly, and if you wanted to show support for Inman without directly plunking cash into his coffers, you could support them indirectly.

      1. Inman didn’t tell us that he was going to collect contributions from us in a tax-deductible way.  He told us he was going to take those contributions andput them in a big pile, which he would photograph purely for the lulz value of insulting Funnyjunk, and _then_ send the money to charity.   

        That’s right, he was asking for the money to provide entertainment as well as charity, and I don’t expect that to be any more tax deductible than raffle tickets for my local fire department fundraiser. Support your right to arm bears!

  6. Makes me wonder if Charles Carreon has always been this douchey or if he one day just decided to hell with it, I’m going to flush my reputation and career down the toilet right now by picking a beef with a humorist on the internet.  Because why not.

    1. Some men just want to watch the world…cringe with embarrassment at their actions.

  7. Carreon would be correct if I thought I had been donating to a charity. But if I wanted to do that, I’d just go directly to the charity. Instead, I want what Matt promised to do – take a picture of the money, and then send that picture, along with a picture of Carreon’s mom seducing a kodiak bear, to Carreon. And then Matt can donate his money to the charities he said he’d donate to.

    1. Not quite.  You can still take the deduction.  If I go around and ask folks to donate to AIDS Ride or something, they give me the money and I hand it over to the charity.  No different here.  It’s the donor’s deduction.  And, if Inman takes the money as income he could *also* take the deduction.  Donations aren’t a one time thing with a given dollar.  

      1. As others have pointed out, the deduction would just  cancel out the “income” from the fundraiser.

        Which is actually Carreon’s objective. He’s not making any coherent argument, he’s just stabbing wildly trying to find something to hurt Inman.

    2.  Not-so-minor correction – it wasn’t even Carreon he was insulting, it was Funnyjunk, and Funnyjunk’s mom, with Carreon presumed to be a tool working for Funnyjunk.  So when Carreon filed his lawsuits on his own behalf, not Funnyjunk’s, they were even more bogus than if he’d been the one directly insulted, because that affects his standing to file (which is the kind of thing that lawyers are expected to know about.)

    3.  I agree completely except it was never a picture of Carreon’s mom.

      It’s a picture of Funnyjunk’s mom. Another fact that Carreon got wrong.

  8. I feel like I’m missing something crucial about the math, here.  If Inman gets the money, his taxable income goes up $200k or whatever, then when he pays it out to the charities, he gets the write-off, which brings his taxable income back down $200k, to the same amount that it was before, meaning he pays the same amount in taxes that he would have paid anyway.  How is he any richer?

    1. That’s generally correct. There are a couple of possible complications — you can only deduct a certain percentage of your income as charitable deductions in a given year, and AMT might kick in for him. However, both of those possibilities would drive his tax liability up, not down.

      Carreon is lying, plain and simple. 

    2.  As others have mentioned, there’s a good chance he will not be able to take the full write-off due to the AMT, so he could end up losing big here.

    3. The technical term for this legal gambit is, “Hope that the judge and/or clerks are too busy or stupid to see how lame the case is.”

  9. Also appears to be hosting some pirated MP3s (Gil Scott-Heron and Big Audio Dynamite) as part of some kind of internet shrine to Norman Spinrad and Blade Runner (don’t ask me, I just clicked the link, baby) – see links at bottom of this page .. I can’t actually get any of these to load (slow response, rather than nonexistent, I think.. but can’t be sure).

  10. I, as a boingboing follower and avid internet user,  am not interested in your flame-war.  

  11. So if Mat Inman gets someone to hand him in does that mean Carreon has to pay out the $100,000?

    Also as its a public space he is published that image to does that not mean that Carreon has basically offered money for the illegal capture and I probably kidnapping of Mat Inman?

    1. I had the same response (the first part). What’s to stop Inman from showing up at Carreon’s office and demanding the $100,000 reward, to be signed over to his designated charities?

      Although, shutting up and gracefully making a significant contribution to the charities (and not even close to $100K, which is a huge and somewhat unimaginable sum for most individuals) would probably be Carreon’s best move going forward. If he can do it in a face-to-face meeting with Inman, so much the better for both of them.

      1.  He did it was $10, and i think he only did that so he could sue Mat if he did something to the donations like add more charities which is something he did as well so mat had to take those two other charities out.

    1. Nah, he’s just your garden variety American asshole. Can’t back down, ever, cause that’d make you look weak.

  12. I expect Google to be named in the next defamation lawsuit; search results for “lawyer internet laughingstock” bring up Charles Carreon at #1.  (Actually, it’s the BoingBoing article, so be on your toes, Cory.)

    1. Are you kidding, I’d love to see BoingBoing named to the lawsuit! I mean, the dude’s career is over already, almost certainly. Having a heavyweight experienced in internet legal stuff would just hasten the end of this thing.

      Actually, I’ve been thinking about writing to Mr. Carreon to find out how I might be named to the lawsuit as well. I need a little excitement in my life, sounds like fun!

      1. You may love it, but you don’t pay the lawyer bills which are nonzero even for dealing with absurd and baseless claims.

  13. American Buddha is Charles Carreon’s website? That’s awesome! I bookmarked this site years ago after stumbling across it, thinking of it as a beautiful display of psychoceramics. This guy should be really careful where he slings his legal threats, considering the amount of copyrighted material he rips off on his site, while supposedly shielding himself with a flimsy copyright notice:

    1.  It’s mostly his wife’s site.   She’s also contributed to the online discussions, in pretty much the ways you’d expect.

    2. Maybe if we put the RIAA on his ass for distributing their music they’ll keep him busy enough that he’ll turn down the volume on The Oatmeal vendetta.

      (I’ve successfully done this on the bus, introducing two crazy people to each other so they’d unload their crazy at each other rather than bothering me.)

  14. Doesn’t ol’ Chuckles Carreon have some experience at “pilfering money?” seems to me there was some todo about helping himself to funds held in trust for a client…?

    1. I don’t know about a claim that he enriched himself thereby, but he has twice been disciplined for irregularities in handling clients’ funds; from Wikipedia (you can follow the citations there to see the original documents, if you wish):

      In October 2005, Carreon was suspended by the Oregon State Bar for 60 days for the unlawful practice of law and failing to deposit or maintain client funds in trust.[9] In September 2006, Carreon was also suspended for two years by the State Bar of California, stayed, and placed on two years ofprobation with an actual 60-day suspension for violating his duty to maintain client funds in trust, and for practicing without a license in Canada.[10]

  15. Is this guy trying to get a nomination for “most pointlessly evil human being currently alive”? 

    It’s astonishing, completely astonishing.

    1.  He’s nowhere near evil – as far as we know, he’s not violent, and doesn’t eat puppies for breakfast, though he may occasionally file lawsuits against their moms.
      But if he’s running for “Loudest Internet Troll”, he pretty much wins the current 15 minutes of fame.

  16. Guess he’s not any better at tax law than any other law. The only way he gets a tax break is if the money qualifies as income. Doubt that’s the case here.

  17. And thanks to South Park we all know how this will eventually end for Carreon… jackin’ it in San Diego…

  18. I’m all for Oatmeal here. But using “crude editorial cartoon” as a pejorative?

    You did see Matt’s bear-fuckery cartooning, didn’t you? Wasn’t the fanciest I’ve seen.

          1. There was a peacock outside of the ISP I used to work at. They are the most annoying creatures in the world and you are welcome to fuck the lot of them if you can handle the noise. 

  19. Can I still give money to the bears+cancer thing?  If it upsets this Carrion guy, I want to do it.

    1. I want to know what color he dislikes the most so that I can wear it more often. That’s the level I’m at, man.

  20. didnt carreon previously raise a stink about inmann planning to donate more than the 20k he promised so inmann in turn decided to add another few charities and now carreon is saying he can’t do that.
    this guy needs to go away….now…

    1.  No, 4chan needs griefer troll idol groups. At least they look cute, even if they are annoying.

  21. If you haven’t read the Ars article your missing something beautiful…
    Carreon has informed the court that having to travel to the court to appear for a hearing would be an undo financial strain on him.
    Ponder that…
    The lawyer who shopped for a series of laws to abuse in his personal vendetta picked CA, and now that the case might move forward its suddenly a huge burden for him to appear at the court he picked.  He wants to phone in his appearance, possibly so his wife can read the my first law coloring book to him without anyone noticing.
    I can not believe any judge will entertain such a stupid request, why yes your honor I sued everyone on the planet in your court, but it is gonna cost me to much to show up so can I just call and rant?

    1. I would love to ssee the judge compel Carreon to show up in person. After all, he shopped around for the jurisdiction that’d give him enough laws to mistakenly sue on.

      Nobody is going to wait outside your house with a bat for you to leave on the way to California, Carreon. Freaking go to court already.

  22. I’m fascinated by his premise, that has standing to sue on behalf of all those poor donors who will be defrauded without his protection – those donors, that is, who made these contributions specifically to mock him.

  23. “The updated filings also reveal that Carreon himself donated $10 to the so-called “BearLove campaign,” as a way to gain standing for himself.”

    Can one gain standing through an act of bad faith?

    1. Generally, no. I am sure the respondents will have some entertaining and educational things to say on that topic.

  24. Has there been any sort of comment or anything from Funny Junk about all this? I thought I read somewhere that he was doing all this for himself, not them. Have they distanced themselves from him?

  25. According to the mythological record of the British Isles – poets, bards and other entertainers visiting the court of a king were treated in higher regard then the king. This was apparently done out of fear that a slighted bard would satirize his quarry in song or poem and in so doing would destroy them.

    There’s a neat parallel here in history with what is gradually happening to this gentleman and his crazy law voodoo backfire

  26. Jeez, he’s lost it comepletely.
    There was a point where Carreon might have been able to claim a dignified moral high ground of the sort that would impress a certain class of judge. But when he starts slinging cartoons back at the satirist then he’s lost even that.

    1. Not. If you recall, this whole thing started when Carrion issued a threat of a lawsuit demanding $20k for the crime of mentioning that his website ripped off The Oatmeal’s cartoons without attribution. He started out pretty low, but kept digging at a furious rate.

  27. If I were a law professor, I would definitely make Carreon’s antics part of one of my courses. The section could be titled “Litigating Butthurt, or How Many Ways Did This Guy Get It Wrong?”

  28. My Twitter Avatar is perplexed by this guy. What an idiot. Oh, and his/his wife’s sight is named after Budha? Do they not get the satire behind that or what?

  29. You’d think someone with a website called American Buddha might understand a little about karma, especially the instant internet variety.

    Karma’s a bitch, Mr. Carreon. But it doesn’t have to be…..

    I’m frankly in awe of the army you’ve raised against you – that’s some master class douchebaggery right there. 

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