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Google takes care, that a publisher number can be traced to a real person.
So when You describe the case to Google, we have maybe some days later a new "They have canceled my account, but I am inocent" posting here.
Then contact Google. The likely result is that this so-called webmaster's account will be canceled, and he won't be able to open another one, ever -- except by fraudulent means.
Alternatively, you could have an attorney gather this information, contact Google to get (or subpoena) the information, and then file suit.
Which method you choose would depend on how much time and energy you have, and how deep you think his pockets are. But anyone who would stoop this low to make a few cents a day is not likely to have enough to pay your attorney's fees...
Oh, and do change all of your hosting and e-mail server account password(s) before doing any of this... :)
What you should do is inform Google of what happened and they can check where his ID has been. Change your passwords and that'll be that.
For one thing, it's possible this person didn't do it. For another, you can't expect Google to tell you who is associated with that publisher ID without serving them legal papers.
(However, if you can track down any websites they own that have AdSense on them, you can do a View Source and compare the publisher IDs yourself.)
Wow that person is incredibly unprofessional, bordering on fraud.
Nope, that sounds like actual fraud, it sounds like he mis-represented what he was going to do and took advantage of your lack of knowledge, which is unfortunate because he gives all freelance webmasters a bad name.
I would at a minimum change the passwords to your account and then hire a real webmaster who is honest to go in and remove the code from your site, but not before he takes screen captures of what it looked like before he/she removes it and documents where it is at etc. so you can prove a case in court if you wish to pursue it that far.
Personally, I would file a claim in small claims court for the maximum damages allowed. In my state that is $5,000 dollars. That should get his attention and then simply hire a webmaster to go to court with you and present your case, the proof and get a judgment against him. With a judgment you can hire a collections attorney to put liens on anything this guy owns, i.e. checking accounts, house, business, etc. Until he settles the debt. It is quite possible you will never get a dime from him, but it shouldn't cost you much to do this other than a little time.
If it's not too late, get the last modified details for the page. Anything to definitively tie it to his time of access and to prove the it was him. Lots of people are guilty - proving it is something else. Don't know enough about Google to know how forthcoming they are likely to be without lots-o-lawyers.
(Note: Be 100% positive. Stranger things have happened that have been purely coincidental. That may be 98% unlikely but it DOES happen.)
Where did you find the guy?
Can you identify other clients that may have been abused? This will help your case. Tie in another case of abuse (which shouldn't be hard) and that is another bullet in your gun.
If you can't identify another client, run a sting. Work with somebody that plays Dopey and practically invites the guy do run one or more scams. Stuff like this is sometimes worth the extra hassle just for the kicks - for the pleasure of giving a deserved b....slap. Most of the time it is easier and cheaper just to extricate oneself and move on. Sometimes payback is worth whatever it costs.
I am in the UK and I am not sure about US law but before you can use the small claims courts here there has to be a debt.
English Common Law was in place in the UK long before the US, I have to believe you have lawyers over there that easily as creative as here. I am thinking you could make a case of damages to brand, lost opportunity, etc. and "create" a debt that must then be satisfied.
I am thinking you could make a case of damages to brand, lost opportunity, etc. and "create" a debt that must then be satisfied.
No doubt this possible. I would say this compares to someone parking a hot-dog stand outside a B&M shop (I am no lawyer, but I bet there are plenty of law suits on this and related topics). If they are on your property doing business, they must either have express permission (operating as part of your business or by permit) or get lost. If you want to make life easy, you could grant him permission to do what he is already doing (I'd get something in writing, hopefully by a lawyer) and charge him rent -- make sure you have some sort of clause for retroactive payment for the AdSense revenue he has already received.
A bit harder approach might be to estimate his AdSense revenue and claim that as damages in any potential lawsuit.
Just my thoughts, though. I'd really check with a lawyer before you take any actions.