Madison Man’s Likeness Stolen Online
A Madison man who discovered that his likeness was being used online by a man in another state said he feels disgusted and is concerned about his image being used to trick others.
Two years ago, an Ohio man named David Klotz began building a new image of himself online with the perfect resume, gym-defined good looks and even a new name, according to investigators and victims.
But one day, Chad Shaw, an amateur bodybuilder in Madison, got a phone call letting him know that someone, somewhere was using his images as their own.
“These people are telling me, ‘Hey, we’re just letting you know there’s some guy playing you on Facebook,’ ” said Shaw after a workout earlier this month at a gym on Madison’s East Side.
The well-known weightlifter said he was upset by the news. Shaw said he had worked for years to build his body and an image to go along with it. He was featured in write-ups in bodybuilding magazines and appeared in an ad for a supplement, yet he said all of it was being taken and used by someone else.
“Once I learned the gravity of the situation, it was disgust; I was just disgusted,” said Shaw. “In my opinion, it’s a form of identity theft. According to the law, it’s not.”
Shaw said what worried him the most was discovering Klotz was using his pictures to meet women under assumed names on the Internet. He called police in Madison, but with the man behind the profiles so far away, the jurisdiction just didn’t reach. They passed the report on to a Michigan police department, but nothing happened.
Shaw said he was surprised to learn that it’s not illegal to use someone else’s photos from a website on another website as long as that person’s name isn’t also used.
“As long as you don’t use Chad’s name and hold yourself out as Chad in order to induce people to give you something of value, or use the Facebook page in an effort to defame him or hurt his reputation in some way, (it’s not illegal),” said Tim Edwards of the Axley Brynelson law firm in Madison.
So Shaw turned to WISC-TV, which began looking into Klotz and hearing stories from others who felt wronged by Klotz.
“He’s the biggest liar I’ve ever met in my whole life. I spent well over $200 on him to help him out,” said Linda Dugas, who said she put Klotz up in a hotel after he convinced her he’d been carjacked. “I’ve helped people out before, and I’ll never do it again now after what he’s done. I find this disgusting.”
Dugas said she and her roommate ultimately let Klotz stay on their couch, but he quickly wore out his welcome. By the time he’d been around for a month without leaving when asked, she turned off the lights and left a note on her door that she’d left for the week. The next morning, Dugas said he was still there and tried to force his way into the house.
Police in Toledo, Ohio, where Klotz lives, said he is “very good” at what he does.
“He’s very smooth. He’s very believable,” said Sgt. Tim Noble, who arrested Klotz earlier this year on stalking charges. Klotz later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and spent 90 days in jail.
“He’s after financial gain is what he’s after. He goes in, he endears himself to the victims and he taunts them into all sorts of scams,” Noble said.
Shari MacLeod didn’t fall for it but said she almost did. After she began chatting with Klotz on Facebook, she agreed to meet. Expecting a young, muscular man, she said she instead met Klotz, slumped over and heavyset.
“He reached out his hand, and he goes, ‘Shari?’ And I say, ‘Yeah?’ ” MacLeod said. “So I’m thinking this is maybe a roommate or his partner or whatever, and I look and say, ‘Where’s David?’ And he goes, ‘I’m David.’ And I stepped back and go, ‘You don’t look nothing like your picture.’ “
MacLeod said that was the last time she saw him.
Klotz lives in a homeless shelter in Toledo, spending his days inside the city’s public library, using the computer. That was where WISC-TV found him last month when reporters first tried to talk to him. At first, he didn’t have much to say, but his brother, Dan Klotz, did.
“He’s claiming to be a federal agent. He does recon,” Dan Klotz said. “He’s never wanted to make an honest dollar, for an honest hour’s work. He’s been like this ever since we were — God, we were 16, 17, 18 years old.”
Dan Klotz said he worries someone will eventually set his brother off, and someone will get hurt.
“Do I think he would hurt somebody? Yeah. You back him into a corner, yeah. You back him into a corner, yeah, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Dan Klotz said.
Even though David Klotz wasn’t initially keen to talk, he did sit down with WISC-TV’s David Douglas the next day.
“Why did you tell all of those lies?” Douglas asked.
“Well, what, I mean, I told, I tell women what they want to hear, like every other guy does that’s out there in the dating world,” David Klotz said.
In spite of evidence to the contrary, Klotz said he’s only ever met one woman over the Internet and that all the others have piled on in a vendetta against him.
“But there are others, David, there are about 53 different women?” Douglas asked.
“Well, I don’t know. I have never met 53 women in my entire life, so you must think I’m the biggest piece of horse manure,” Klotz replied.
During the interview, Klotz said he wanted to wipe the slate clean. He said he’d deleted the Internet profiles from Facebook and dating websites, and was no longer using Shaw’s bodybuilding photos.
Since the interview, WISC-TV discovered Klotz using some of the same profiles, with one still featuring the photos of Shaw.
For the bodybuilder who has never met Klotz, none of it sits well. He said he worries about what Klotz might one day do.
“The fact that’s legal to do, that leaves a huge loophole wide open for all kinds of predators in this day in age. There’s a lot of Internet predators out there, unfortunately,” Shaw said.