Brian Dunning 1


Much has been said by many and much of what has been said is quite frankly not factual, or is perhaps misleading due to the omission of specific details.

Perhaps it might be best to simply point to the statement that Brian has issued himself. He explains …

On August 4, 2014, the judge sentenced me to 15 months incarceration, beginning September 2, 2014. In the federal system you must serve a minimum 85% of that time. According to determinations made during your stay, you may be able to transfer to a halfway house near your home at some point during the sentence, which allows you to resume work and see your family. Most attorneys involved felt the sentence was unnecessarily harsh, and the judge stated in his pronouncement that it was based mainly on the deterrence criterion, particularly due to my “minor Internet celebrity” status.

There are a lot of untruths being circulated by bloggers and reporters:

  • That I “stole millions of dollars”. Completely false. The vast majority of KFC’s earnings, over 90%, were never in dispute. My share of the unearned commissions was about a third of the $200-400K, on which I paid taxes. That doesn’t make it any less of a crime, but absurd exaggerations serve nobody.
  • That any individuals were affected. Completely false. The only victim was eBay, and the nature of their loss was a reduced profit (due to paying an unearned sales commission) on new paying customers who had viewed one of our ads.
  • A conspiracy theory that my nonprofit Skeptoid Media, Inc., was set up as some kind of shield to hide stolen millions. First, I never had millions in my possession; second, you cannot shield money from the feds. The federal government can seize anything at any time; there is no protection like there is in state cases (e.g., moving to a state that allows you to keep your primary residence). Skeptoid Media exists only for its stated reasons: producing free educational materials and STEM-focused informational and entertainment content, made available to educators and individuals worldwide, concentrating on critical thinking and scientific skepticism.
  • That I’m a millionaire who has the gall to beg for donations. Please do not conflate the two. Donations that support the Skeptoid podcast go only to support Skeptoid Media, a good cause. See Skeptoid.org for all available disclosures. Separately, I am not a millionaire and my family is under a huge amount of debt, but working that out is our problem, not yours, and not Skeptoid Media’s.

Before you rush out to join the mob who appear to be determined to tar and feather Brain, then run him out of town, I’d first suggest you read his letter, grasp what actually happened, and don’t let others tell you what to think – make up your own mind using the facts.

Having now read the letter myself in full, I find that I am quite sympathetic.

Please, no flame wars, if you disagree, then thats fine, I’m simply stating my position on this.


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One thought on “Brian Dunning

  • Wordwizard

    Thank you! Finally a sensible commentator. As I have said elsewhere, I would say “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” except that we atheists are all sinless…