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— Webster backed away from the federal accounting post. Said James J. Cramer on TheStreet.com, "U.S. Technologies is an awful company, an Internet incubator roll-up that was controlled by none other than the notorious Jon Ledecky."

But Mail Boxes Etc. escaped the opprobrium. In 2001, as U.S. Office Products was going into bankruptcy, Mail Boxes Etc. was sold for $200 million to United Parcel Service, which had had a minority stake in the company. (For those curious about the company's capacity, in the main, the UPS Store utilizes UPS and the post office for shipping.)

The company that Tony DeSio nurtured is booming. It now has 4500 franchisees worldwide, about 3400 of them in the U.S. The company expects to have 5000 franchisees in the U.S. by 2007 -- even without an "Etc." in the name.

But Image Arts Etc. investors were wiped out, says Blaine Roberts.

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