Up stepped a fine gentleman who was stiffed for the relatively low amount of $375. Since it wasn't like he was starving in the streets and he had the time, he led his unit into battle, armed with everything all the armchair advocates said he needed.
Unfortunately, what happened is a reminder why people don't believe in The System anymore -- The System doesn't work. At all.
His first move was with PayPal, who any eBay seller will tell you is lopsidedly biased towards the payee. He explained at the debriefing, "Paypal sounded very helpful at first, then declined to refund our money. Apparently Hoopes convinced them that he provided the good/services he promised."
(Note to those wondering: no. This ends here. PayPal is a private entity and because it is doing its business over the Internet where no commerce rules have been enacted, there's nothing the government can do. Because it isn't the Post Office, investigations for mail fraud are out. Because it isn't a regular bank, wire fraud is out.)
He then went with Plan B, the option most of us were anxious for -- he buzzed the fuzz. He contacted the Sacramento Police Department, where Hoopes lives. However, their commander declined to provide our friend with aid. "The Sacramento Police were worthless...told me to call the FBI because its an interstate crime."
So he called the FBI. He has filed a complaint. They took his information, but there has been no further contact since. No explanation given, but it likely has to do with PayPal being an unregulated bank (read that: the feds have no juristiction), PayPal not interested in protecting their reputation, and the amount of $375 being so small.
TL;DR -- if Hoopes scams you out of money, The Establishment that is so insistent you put your faith in them can't do jack shit.
So if someone contacts you with the name Josh Hoopes, Lalit Kumal, or Joshua John, ignore them. Search Google using any information (one publisher who he contacted under another name searched his email and found out all about him, so any information helps) you are provided with. And if you do get him, if it is an honest to God Josh Hoopes encounter, spread the word so others can watch out for him.
We must look out for each other.