I've known about this campaign for a while because my thoughts on the topic are complicated.
I mean, I feel like there are pieces missing from this picture that I'll never be able to put together - like did Dan and Jillian ever give Manny Camacho money? Can we see an image of the bad check? It's just a really, really weird thing when you break it down.
But as I dug in, it was still clear (even with these missing details) that Dan Coglan was likely the victim. Yes, Dan and his wife Jillian did pretty much the complete checklist of what you never do in these situations, but a lack of savvy is a much lesser sin than preying on those without.
As for the Indiegogo campaign itself, whether or not you donate to keep Dan and Jillian afloat is up to you. It feels strange to me as a crowdfunding project, but the Coglans are upfront about what they're using the money for and their situation.
Honestly, while I've met both Dan and Jillian several times, I don't know them that well. I definitely have never met Mr. Camacho. Who you choose to blame for what is up to you, and I'm just trying to lay out the facts as best I can. Camacho has a history in this community which is undeniably shifty - he trades on names and promises that he can't seemingly back up...
...that's why I find it interesting, and that's why I write about it. Did Samurai Dan and Jillian mess up? Yep. But it's not entirely their fault.
It is entirely their fault. Anyone who knows anything about the publishing industry would see red flags at every step of this situation. Five minutes spent Googling would have alarm bells ringing. I honestly don't think anyone could be as stupid as to believe a publisher with no major publications would be sending them six figure checks based on no sales history, and then buy a luxury car before seeing any money. People need to be responsible for their actions, not beg teenage anime fans on Facebook to send them cash. And there isn't a single mention of any kind of legal action, despite claiming to have a contract. I find that too fishy to believe.
They did dumb things along the way, yeah -- and they were naive, but that sure as shit doesn't make it ALL their fault. And the lack of litigation isn't surprising at all -- you'd be surprised how many people don't know what is and isn't actionable (not to mention how much is they said/ he said).