DavidJudge - 1:12 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)
Are you absolutely positive the site owners and everyone else involved are being completely forthright with you?
Yeah, a really good question. Am I sure that they're being honest... not 100% but I did ask the question pretty much the same way you mentioned at the very beginning.
I also researched everything at the beginning and aside from what appears to be a very high number of facebook likes, everything else looks ok.
It looks like they've continued on during the gap except have just not used their website to generate business. They're looks like they're not really experienced in SEO so it went into the too hard basket.
Is it possible that somebody entered a DMCA against the site because the content had been plagiarized?
I did a little more research on this and Google are supposed to notify you via webmaster tools if their is a DMCA violation.
Webmaster tools was only recently added to the site, but I have noticed when adding webmaster tools that notifications sent prior to the addition of webmaster tools are present (I noticed this with the unnatural link patterns email they sent out).
I also used an image cross referencing tool and I did find a few of the images on other sites, but not one single site and each of the other sites were having issues.