Former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty is one of an estimated two dozen U.S. investors who backed development of a single-use baby bottle that offered potential humanitarian use but lost everything.
Crotty, along with former county Commissioner Pete Clarke, was one of the first to invest in the Ready Made project
“This had all the makings of an exciting project,” Crotty said. “I mean, saving little kids' lives."
The Ready Made single-use baby bottle was invented by Dr. Corwin Littell, a Christian therapist who admitted he is not a good businessman but is persistent.
Littell first offered company stock to investors in 2007 at a price of $1,000 a share. Twelve years later, he admits, the stock is worthless.
His one shining moment was when a utility patent was issued last June for his bottle valve invention. The valve, in theory, would keep baby formula sealed and sanitary.
He said it took four years for the patent to be approved and blamed bureaucratic red tape for the delays.
He told News 6 he thinks the patent would fetch $20 million at auction, but he has not tried to sell it yet.
Investors contacted News 6 to investigate the company because they feared Littell used their money to save his home from foreclosure.
In an email to an investor last week, Littell wrote, "There is no money in RM (right now $25.00 just to keep the account open) and I spend virtually every waking hour working on RM. My house is in foreclose for the second time, we only have one car that has 216,000 miles on it and there hasn't been water in my pool for the past three years."
Littell denied any cover-up or illegal use of company funds and said he has always been working to get the invention to market.
“I never collected a salary, never paid my bills, never,” Corwin said. “It’s not like I’m trying to scam anybody.”
During a two-month investigation, News 6 interviewed company investors from Las Vegas to Orlando.
Orlando kidney specialist Dr. Arvan Madan said he invested $28,000 into the company in exchange for 60 shares of stock.
“He doesn’t want to give you direct answers," Madan said. “It’s just an idea, he has no assets, he has no business model, he has no sale.”
Madan and his fellow investors said Littell “seemed out of his league” but they don’t see him as a conman the consensus. According to Madan, Littell is "just winging it.”
News 6 confirmed Littell was accepted into the UCF Business Incubation Program between December 2015 and December 2016.
Littell reported $11,000 from an angel investor, meaning the money was invested without reviewing the company’s financial records.
Investors told News 6 that money was reported but never accounted for.
Michael Weiss, associate director of the UCF program said he was not aware of any formal agreements with investors or companies.
“They were researching and speaking with suppliers, manufacturers and distributors,” Weiss said.
News 6 has learned more than half a dozen investors held a teleconference last week to decide what to do to recover any potential assets and manufacture the bottle.
“There hasn’t been accountability to the investors,” Crotty said. “As time went on, it became less and less likely that this was going to work.”
Littell said he needs $50,000 to have the bottles manufactured to present what he called “proof of concept” to manufacturers.
“Once the proof of concept has been initiated, we can start generating a licensing agreement,” Littell said.
For more information on the company, visit readymadeinc.com.
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