Calling All Ants - The Story of Allen Caggiano and the FIVS

Greater fuel economy for the internal combustion engine has always been possible and as early as the 1910's independent inventors have produced fuel saving devices that allow gasoline to burn more efficiently, which also means less pollution coming out of the tail pipe. If you're a John D. Rockefeller, you don't want fuel efficient vehicles because automobiles are the primary consumer of your Standard Oil. You want to sell more oil, not less, and you would be inclined to prevent any innovations in carburetors that could dampen the demand. You would be willing to buy the patent of any successful inventor just so you could put it on the shelf, out of sight, out of mind. If the inventor is stubborn and won't give you the rights, there are other ways to persuade him to your way of thinking. The story of the suppression of innovative fuel saving technologies is the story of the failure of free market capitalism. It's not a new story and it's been told many times, but the increasingly powerful corporate masters of the US economy have been able to prevent it from being heard.

Allen Caggiano's experience should be a wake up call, though I know most Americans are asleep at the wheel and won't hear a thing. Too bad.

Those who best remember the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 were driving and buying gasoline at that time and are today at least 47 years old. Younger people have no first hand experience of what an energy crisis can mean and have little idea of how vulnerable we really are in our dependence on foreign oil. 1973 was the year Allen Caggiano decided he was going to do something to help his country become energy secure. Unlike many of his Babyboomer contemporaries, he was patriotic. The “oil shock” set him thinking about the problem of fuel efficiency. He ran his own business, Debal Heating & Air Conditioning, and had to have fuel for his six trucks to keep his twelve men working. His men weren’t working. They were waiting in lines at gas stations to get five gallons each. It made no sense to him that a country that could send men to the Moon couldn’t produce a vehicle that would get high enough mileage so that we would be more energy independent. Vehicles powered by the internal combustion engine consume the greater part of the oil we use; therefore, increased miles per gallon for each vehicle would mean a huge reduction in oil consumption and less vulnerability to the whims of foreign suppliers.

When he first began to think about the problem of fuel efficiency, he saw it as a technical issue. He was an ambitious and creative young man with a young man’s conviction that he could build the better mousetrap no matter how many others had tried and failed in the past. It was years later that he learned through bitter personal experience that fuel efficiency is not so much a technical problem as it is a political one.

Al had his Eureka! moment one evening in his shop as he was cleaning out an evaporation coil he designed for a custom air conditioning unit he had contracted to build. He didn’t have the special solvent he needed, so he decided to use gasoline as a substitute. He poured one gallon into the coil and was astonished to see that only about a cup full of liquid came out the other end. The rest was turned into a large quantity of gasoline vapor. He saw immediately that this vaporization process could be adapted for use in an automobile and he began to play around with designs for a miniaturized coil that could do it. Carburetors and fuel injectors deliver a spray or fine mist of fuel and much of it remains unburned in the cylinders and leaves the engine as pollution. A vapor is composed of much finer particles and will burn more completely with less unburned fuel going out the tail pipe.

Before he developed his first automotive fuel vaporization device, however, he tried out the idea on a fuel oil heating system in an apartment building he had bought. He was paying $500 per week to heat the 21 units of his building during heating season and he wanted to cut his heating costs. He rigged up a vaporization system for the furnace that worked very well at first and reduced his bill to $100 per week. Unfortunately, it failed disastrously and there was a fire. Al was burned over 70% of his body in this incident and one of the apartments he used to locate the fuel device was damaged.

He knew he was taking risks at the time and he knew his experiment was technically illegal, but this incident only serves to highlight the dilemma innovators and inventors face in our heavily regulated environment. Who could afford to build and test a device and then secure approval from the Underwriter’s Laboratory? Only deep pocket corporations can innovate and follow all the rules, and they do very little R&D without tax incentives or other financial support to protect the bottom line. To be good, sometimes you have to be bad. Al paid a heavy price. Over two months in hospital intensive care was the least of it.

The state eventually prosecuted him for the fire he had caused in his own building and sentenced him to a year in jail with two years of work release. The conviction was a misdemeanor, not a felony, and he retained his professional licenses. While waiting for that trial, Al recovered sufficiently from his burns to get to work on the automotive vaporization system. By the time he was to begin his sentence in Walpole Prison he had put together his first prototype and installed it on a 1973 Dodge Coronet station wagon. This gave spectacular results and produced 111 miles per gallon of gas. But it failed after a short time and he was off to Walpole in 1978 where he would have plenty of time to think things over. The Arab Oil Embargo was a bad memory, but Al was fully committed to developing a device that would be reliable and safe. Committed is not a strong enough word. He became obsessed

When he got out of Walpole on work-release in 1979, he installed the second generation device on the 318 cubic inch Dodge V-8 engine and called it the “FIVS Gen II”. FIVS ( rhymes with “gives”) stood for “fuel implosion vaporization system”, second generation. This second prototype proved very reliable and produced results as remarkable as the first, getting as much as 113 miles to a gallon of gas. He was so confident that he placed ads in newspapers to tell the world. He was commuting to work each day from the forestry camp where he was assigned to live for the duration of his work- release. He was not yet a free man, but his spirits were soaring with visions of the success of his FIVS.

A newspaper reporter began to secretly follow Al on his daily commutes to and from his work at Weatherall Energy Research and Development, the successor to Debal Heating & Air Conditioning. It was being temporarily operated by his wife, Deb, and a friend. The mom & pop Deb & Al heating and cooling business had developed a larger vision. The reporter wanted to verify the claims Al was making about mileage and when he did not see him stop for gas for an entire month, he showed up at the work release facility asking to interview Allen Caggiano. The warden was outraged. Al was again breaking the rules by engaging in business of his own, which was not permitted according to the terms of his work release. The warden was shy of publicity of any kind and told Al that if he did not lie to the reporter and confess that he was siphoning gas from other vehicles in the parking lot at night, Al would spend the rest of his term behind bars in Walpole. Al lied.

The moment he was his own man again in 1981, he began promoting the FIVS with renewed enthusiasm. He was still breaking the rules but didn’t let that bother him. He was beginning to feel like it was illegal to be Allen Caggiano. The installation of the FIVS Gen II required modifications to the carburetor and the removal of the catalytic converter. This was prohibited by EPA regulations. It was therefore a violation of Federal Law. Al ignored the regulations because he knew tail pipe emissions from his FIVS vehicle were much lower than the law required. He was upholding the spirit of the law, and he was willing to argue his case in court if it came to that. He wanted a confrontation, he wanted a chance to tell the world that his FIVS made pollution control devices obsolete. He painted the station wagon bright yellow and in bold black letters along the sides he wrote: THIS CAR GETS OVER 100 MILES PER GALLON AND DOESN’T POLLUTE THE AIR.

He finally had his better mousetrap. He had resolved the technical issues. He knew his FIVS would make the US energy independent and reduce harmful emissions dramatically. He was giddy with excitement. The world would beat a path to his door. He’d grown up believing that’s how the free market system worked. He’d done very well for himself for a kid with just a high school education, so he had no reason to believe otherwise. He had the potential to be as rich as Bill Gates. It was hard to believe, but when he did the math, that’s how it looked. Who could not afford to spend $2,000 for a device that would save them that much in fuel costs within a year? This was the point when his political education began in a dramatic way.

On the third day of his new campaign, Al got into the station wagon one morning and noticed a car pulling up behind him. He got out to greet two men in suits flashing FBI credentials. While he spoke to one, the other slipped away, climbed in to his station wagon, and drove it off. Astonished, he turned to watch his vehicle going down the street. Then he heard the Fed car pulling out behind him. Al just stood there watching the two vehicles disappear around the corner. An old friend, his attorney, later called the FBI office. The FBI denied any knowledge of the incident. Angry and frustrated, but undaunted, Al said good-bye to the Dodge Coronet, and found another similar Dodge station wagon and set to work installing another FIVS. He painted this one yellow, too, with bold black lettering.

Not long after the first car was stolen, he received an interesting offer from a California based corporation. This corporation wanted to purchase exclusive rights to his FIVS Gen II. Al asked his attorney to check it out. The corporation turned out to be a subsidiary of several other corporations, all of which were finally owned by an oil company. This arrangement is typical of the way contemporary monopolies are structured. Al had been doing some reading about other inventors in the past and other fuel saving devices that had never seen the light of day and he was determined that he would never allow the Big Boys to get control of his device.

After he refused the offer, two different FBI agents came calling. He was careful not to leave keys in his unattended vehicle this time. They informed him that he was violating federal laws and should cease and desist. Defiant and excited that he might soon make his case in court, he told his wife, Deb, not to worry. She was more than wife and mother, she was a partner. She had held him and his business together in the rough times, but she was losing her nerve. A couple of weeks after the second FBI visit, unmarked brown paper envelopes began arriving, containing 8 x 10 photographs of the children and Deb. A child on the playground at school. A child getting off the school bus. Deb in the supermarket, and so on. She was terrified and ultimately gave Al a choice between her and his FIVS. It was the most painful moment in his life. He refused to back down. To him it had become a “High Noon” type of situation. The marriage broke up.

Something in Denmark was really rotten. He couldn’t ignore the smell now. He was devastated, but also angrier and more defiant than ever. The FBI was behaving like the Mafia. He wrote on the side of his Dodge: “THE BIG BOYS ARE TRYING TO MAKE ME AND THIS CAR DISAPPEAR! HELP ME!” If you’re a poor Italian kid from a big family and your father was a barber, you know some of the things your father heard in his barbershop and you don’t believe the world is all sweetness and light. You know the police aren’t working for you, but you hope they leave you some room to wiggle in. You hope your wife loves you like you love her, and if she doesn’t, you hope your friends stand by you. That’s why when one his oldest friends, and his attorney, who was like a brother, refused to have anything else to do with him, he began to have a really bad feeling. “Wake up!” his attorney said, and then abruptly hung up the phone.

The Feds weren’t going to give him his day in court to defend his FIVS. They had stolen his first prototype vehicle and they knew it worked as claimed. He had refused to relinquish his control, so they were going to send him back to prison, but not for violating federal emissions regulations. On the face of it, the Environmental Protection Agency appears to be imposing regulations on the auto makers and the oil companies in the public interest of protecting the quality of the air we breath, and the quality of the air we breath is improved over what it used to be. But in fact these special interests often write the legislation themselves. The regulations then create a profitable new area of business which allows the special interests to increase their control over the market. The public interest is best served by creative innovation in a free market. Al was learning Politics 101 the hard way. In the business of autos and oil, there is no free market. In a monopoly controlled market, there are anti-competitive regulations, dirty tricks, and active suppression. The Big Boys protected their turf and took control of or destroyed any potential competition in the hallowed tradition of John D. Rockefeller Sr and the robber barons of the past. That wasn’t hard to understand. But he was unprepared for the sophisticated tactics of today’s faceless robber barons.

The Chief of Police for Brockton, MA, Richard Sproules, was a corrupted cop. Using cocaine stolen from police evidence, Chief Sproules planted it in Al’s home during a drug raid that ultimately put Al in prison again in 1986 for 15 years on a cocaine trafficking conviction, in spite of the fact that Al didn’t use drugs, nor associate with those who did. He fought back. In prison, he fashioned a key in the prison shop and simply let himself out. He contacted a friend on the police force and then turned himself in on the same day. This police officer friend was able to uncover evidence of the chief’s corruption. Two days later, Chief Sproules was arrested for stealing cocaine from the evidence locker, most of which he had taken home to feed his addicted wife. He went to prison himself, which led to the reversal of over 300 drug convictions that had been decided during his tenure. The Massachusetts Supreme Court of Appeals overturned Al’s conviction. For a moment, he thought he’d beaten the Big Boys was a free man again.

But then the federal prosecutor stepped in and indicted him on new charges relating to the seizure of two shot guns during the phoney drug bust. A spurious interpretation of the US Code was applied. Al was sentenced to a total of 30 years in Allenwood federal prison, without parole. He got ten years for two counts of perjury having to do with false declarations he had made when filling out two forms for the purchase of his two shotguns. He had checked the “no” box when asked if he had ever been convicted of a felony. He was then given five years for possession of fire arms by a felon. And finally he received another fifteen years for being an “armed courier criminal” because he had three prior felony convictions and was in possession of a firearm! Under the laws of the State of Massachusetts he was not considered a felon.

Al’s time in Allenwood was not wasted in self-pity or bitterness towards the Big Boys or the corrupted system that put him there. Life handed him lemons and he went on making lemonade. When he was seriously burned in his apartment building years before, he had spent sixty nine days in intensive care, kissing death so many times that he lost his fear of it. He came out of the hospital free of a burden of fear most don’t even know they carry around with them. Death is probably the greatest fear of the average man, and the second greatest may be the fear of Government, or the power that government can exercise: imprisonment, torture, execution. The two inevitabilities haunt us all: the proverbial death & taxes! But Al looked the deadly duo in the eye and didn’t blink. Freedom means freedom from fear. Imprisonment cannot destroy a man who has put aside his own private burden of fear and knows the fault is in the corrupted system and not in himself.

He was popular in Allenwood right away because of his role in exposing the dirty cop that overturned so many drug convictions. He developed a good relationship with the warden of facilities. As a licensed HVAC contractor, Al was able to fix the prison heating and cooling system that had never worked properly, saving the government a large amount of money. Honeywell Corporation trained him in the use of computers so that he could operate and maintain the system. The prison had an excellent machine shop which allowed him to continue working with his FIVS devices. He designed small FIVS for the prison lawn mowers and produced numerous FIVS GEN II’s with the collaboration of the warden of facilities that were secretly distributed outside.

The US has a prison population of more than 2.1 million inmates and the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world. Within this huge population are many talented, intelligent individuals. Al made many useful contacts, one of whom helped him secure US Patent #5,782,225, awarded July 21, 1998, for the FIVS Gen II, among other things. He continued to develop and refine his computer skills. He also designed a new FIVS, the Gen III, which did not violate any federal regulations, and he put together a plan to manufacture and distribute the Gen III . A rich man can say: I been broke but I ain’t never been poor! In the same vein, Allen Caggiano could say: I been in prison, but I ain’t never been a convict! He never stopped believing in his own freedom.

And then one day he was out, free for real in 1997. Sentenced to 30 years without parole, he was suddenly released after ten years with five years parole. The federal appeals court had finally ruled that his possession of two shotguns was legal and that it had no jurisdiction over the matter in the first place. Several years later, because he was curious, he asked a police officer friend to do a background check on him. No record of his conviction and incarceration in Allenwood was found. The stain of systemic corruption had been discretely removed.

He didn’t look back and went to work to develop a prototype Gen III device, applied for his new patent, and implement the strategy he had dreamed up in prison. He was no longer politically naive, no longer the patriotic American he’d once been. He did not believe it would be possible to build the Gen III in the home of the brave and the land of the free, so he made arrangements to manufacture parts in the Ukraine, a former satellite of the defunct Soviet Union. He would then assemble the devices in Mexico. He had developed a global perspective in Allenwood. His network of supporters and investors was now called: “FIVS Gen III International” and he set up a website:

He needed to test the new Gen III device. He needed people from different countries in different climates with different types of vehicles interested in taking part in a beta testing program and asked them to sign a licensing agreement. The Ukrainian shop was willing to take the job at cost on the expectation of future profits. The Big Boys didn’t have clout in the Ukraine, and even if they did, they’d have to find the shop first! His website was eventually generating 70,000 hits a month from all over the world. His beta testers would be from different countries, with just a few devices in the US and Canada, thus making it very difficult for the Feds to interfere. He also offered the complete blue prints for manufacturing the earlier FIVS Gen II as a free download from his site so that anyone who wanted to could build their own. He thought this might distract the Feds and tie up their manpower as he implemented the Gen III strategy.

By 2002, the delivery date for the first beta testing group was set. The parts were shipped from the Ukraine to Mexico where they were assembled. It was necessary for Al to travel South of the border to oversee the operation. He made the punishing drive from Massachusetts to Mexico several times in his FIVS equipped Pontiac Catalina and it functioned flawlessly, delivering more than 70 MPG from its 400 cubic inch engine. His friends warned him not to drive alone, but he made the last trip by himself and on the return leg of the journey, he noticed an 18 wheel truck following him. The intentions of this truck were soon obvious when it overtook him and forced him off the road. Al anticipated the maneuver, however, and was able keep control of the Pontiac. He breathed a sigh of relief and continued on, believing he’d outwitted them once again. He made it all the way to Massachusetts and was nearly home again before the truck found him a second time and caught him unawares. The Pontiac rolled over several times, but landed upright. The driver’s side door was crushed and the roof caved in, but the car still ran and Al was able to drive it home without further incident in spite of his injuries. He had to be cut out of the car with a torch. He had several broken ribs and a punctured lung and was immediately rushed to the hospital.

The Gen III’s for the first group of licensees were shipped from Mexico on time, however, by means of several different shippers. Some devices for US licensees were shipped via United Parcel Service. A total of 137 units were shipped around the world. Only those that went UPS in the continental US and Canada, a total of 44 units, did not arrive at their destinations. Every shipped item has a tracking number, of course, and when Al inquired about the missing 44 units and provided the tracking numbers he’d been given, he was informed the numbers he had did not exist. The attempt to turn him into road kill was not completely unexpected, but Al was shaken just the same. He maintained his bravado, however, while friends and sympathizers reacted more predictably. When the intent of the suppression escalated from malicious to deadly, most began to slip quietly away and it was High Noon again. Another complicating and aggravating factor was the appearance of a discussion group at the Yahoo website called “Get 113to138mpgNOT”. This Yahoo Group was established by an individual calling himself “David Rodale”. He was not a Gen III licensee. He ( or she ) was a freelance public servant dedicated to helping those who had been ripped off by the promoter of impossibilities, the unscrupulous scoundrel, Allen Caggiano. He provided advice and counsel to those disappointed licensees who had not received their Gen III devices. He assured them that they could find justice in the courts. Al spent much time and energy fighting back against this defamation.

Al was fully recovered from his “accident” by this time and had repaired the Pontiac. He was feeling every day of his 59 years, but he soldiered on with a grim determination towards whatever final confrontation awaited him. When a careful, bloodless voice on the phone proposed a compromise one day, he felt ready to bargain. His website was experiencing growing traffic, as many as 70,000 hits in a month. The voice told him that if he would just remove the Gen III from his site he would be left alone. It felt like a small victory, but he didn’t relish the idea of backing down. If Gary Cooper had received such an offer in High Noon, he would have taken it.

He knew a bargain with the devil could never work in his favor, but he had to catch his breath, so he played along and removed the Gen III from his site. It was a strategic retreat. If they would leave him alone, the beta testing of units already out there could go forward. The program was smaller than he had originally intended, but it was a start and if he could relax and gather his data, then he might ultimately win the game. However, a careful examination of the FIVS in his Pontiac one afternoon made his heart jump into his throat. He found a tiny hairline crack in the aluminum/titanium alloy cannister. This Gen III unit had many thousands of miles on it. It presaged a potential disaster and he immediately notified all the licensees of the problem and recalled the units. He worked feverishly and discovered that he didn’t have to redesign the cannister. A simple alteration appeared to be the solution.

Though physically robust, Al had been born an epileptic and had used medications his entire life to keep the condition under control. Drugs may benefit certain ailments for which they are designed, but they can often provoke serious side effects. Al suffered this collateral damage and had developed diabetes owing to the effect of a drug on his pancreas, which he treated with oral doses of insulin. An aneurism located in the stomach region had also been identified ten years earlier. It was time for his annual visit to the hospital, a routine check up to monitor this potential problem.

This check up was anything but routine. It was decided that the aneurism required immediate surgical treatment. After the fact, this prognosis was shown to be false. The aneurism had not posed a danger. A malpractice suit will ultimately decide whether the doctor and hospital were liable for what happened. In any case, while the surgery was underway, Al suffered a mild stroke. His heart stopped and he was technically dead on the operating table for a few minutes. In addition, the surgeon accidentally damaged nerves in his spinal column. Al awoke in a hospital room the next day, feeling more dead than alive and without the ability to move the legs that had worked just fine the day before.

Without bad luck, he would have had no luck at all. It was sometimes difficult for him in black moods to see any advantage in being the Allen Caggiano who could take bold and reckless strides in life, but as he lay recuperating day after day he could see no advantage at all in being an Allen Caggiano in a wheel chair. The loving support of family and friends couldn’t relieve the crushing feelings of futility and helplessness. He kept the television playing in an effort to distract him from his own bloody thoughts, and on the local noon news on a sunny day in the spring of 2003 he watched a dramatic live report of a SWAT team in action. They were closing in around a familiar looking building. He thought to himself: “Hey! That’s looks like my condo! Hey! That is my condo!” He watched the police seizing his yellow Pontiac in the parking lot as the Channel 7 reporter explained that Chelmsford, Massachusetts, resident, Allen Caggiano, had defrauded investors in a fuel saver scam and then fled the country. He didn’t see how that could be true since he was in the IC ward of the local hospital, not 20 miles away, but for one fleeting moment, he did believe it. That’s the Allen Caggiano he wanted to be, strolling on a beach in the Caribbean. Such is the power of television. Then he shouted in outrage and he knew why he was back from the dead. He had unfinished business.

Meanwhile “David Rodale” at Yahoo Group “Get 113to138mpgNOT” had found 20 disappointed Gen III licensees and was patiently building consensus for legal action at the state level in Massachusetts. It wasn’t easy to turn disappointment into outrage and a desire for revenge. In spite of the resources available to the Big Boys, they hadn’t been able to otherwise identify most of the testing program licensees. Al returned home to his condo to find his Pontiac with the repaired Gen III’s in the trunk gone from its parking space. It hadn’t been a bad dream, it was real! His premises had been ransacked, his computer hard drives removed. With his mind foggy from pain killers, Al tried to concentrate on getting used to a wheel chair. Nurses from the Visiting Nurses Association were with him around the clock. Gradually he stopped using the pain killers. He began to notice sensation returning to his legs.

Even as he felt himself improving, his diabetic condition inexplicably worsened. Twice he was rushed to the hospital in a comatose state. The third time this happened, a nurse checked his pill caddy and discovered insulin pills that should not have been there. He was now taking insulin through injection, but the old insulin pills were still in the medicine cabinet and had been put in his pill caddy with his other medications. The nurse, Michele, who had done this, not once, but three times, did not again appear for her shift. Al tried to reach her to ask for an apology for her mistakes, but she had vanished. The Visiting Nurses Association denied having any record of her employment.

“David Rodale” was having success convincing the disappointed licensees to file suit, and with the newly acquired information about the FIVS Gen III International operations taken during the SWAT assault, a postal inspector launched a preliminary inquiry into the feasibility of action at the federal level for mail fraud. Rodale was confidant that the threat to society posed by Allen Caggiano was now neutralized. He announced to the Yahoo Group members that he’d done his best and there was nothing more to do. He would leave the Yahoo Group in place for a while, but he planned to take it down in a couple of months. He was sorry that so many people had been taken in, and he hoped they’d be less gullible in the future. He was glad he could help.

This writer telephoned Al one Monday evening in the spring of 2004 following his first court appearance the previous Friday. The phone rang ten times before he finally picked up. If the phone was not within arm’s reach, it took him a while to get to it because he wasn’t walking too well. “Like Frankenstein”, he said. But he was out of his wheel chair and walking for short distances. He was on his way back.

“You’re back!” I said.

“Yeah, I’m discontinued until March 15,” Al said. He was alert and he sounded relieved.

“So, they didn’t have a trial?”

“No, we’re all ready for trial, right? But the district attorney wasn’t.”

I realized that Caggiano sounds a lot like Marlon Brando in “A Street Car Named Desire”. He sometimes can’t find the word he wants. The story was that the DA didn’t have his case together. He was embarrassed and asked the judge for a 90 day continuance. Al’s attorney wouldn’t go for that and they finally compromised on 40 days. The DA was having trouble getting the plaintiffs to the courtroom. If they aren’t there, he has no case because the defendant has the right to face his accusers. Al was being charged with larceny. Al explained that the Feds were very interested in this case. If the DA could get a guilty verdict in the state court, they would be more confidant about pursuing an indictment for mail fraud in a federal court.

“I could smell those bastards. There was three of them sitting in the courtroom. I could pick out the three Feds,” he said.

“Why? Were they wearing dark suits?”

“They’re like in suits, but it’s the shoes they wear. That there gives them away, right? Every one of them wears the same stinking kind of shoe, right, the cop shoe?” “You mean the black shoe with thick soles?”

“Uh huh. Yeah, uh, listen to this, uh, one time I was leaving my condo and I seen a telephone truck out there, and I look up the pole, right? And low and behold, there’s the shoe. He had the Verizon uniform, the phone company uniform, but he had the shiny black Fed shoes on! You’d think they’d change their appearance or whatever. I mean, the shoes are a dead give away. You got a guy climbing a telephone pole. He should have boots on, right?”

“So he was up ‘fixing’ your telephone?”

“Yeah. So I stops over to the pole and I got out of the car and I says, geez, I says, hey, you know, are the Feds that hard up that they gotta climb a pole to use the phone? Hey, you wanna use my phone?”

No one could live the kind of life Al has lived without a sense of humor. He was bone weary and his anxiety showed through the bravado and feistiness. It was still High Noon and it had been High Noon for years. He had good lawyers and many friends but only he could fight the battle because it wasn’t ultimately a battle for control of the FIVS Gen III nor was it about money. It was never really about the money he said. It was a battle for the right to be Allen Caggiano. He wasn’t going to let anyone deny him the right to be himself. It was this that was to die for. It was the spirit of ‘76 that all the corruption of wealth and power has not yet been able to neutralize in this country.

That summer, the judge dismissed the charges against Al in the Massachusetts court. His lawyer petitioned for the return of his property, the Pontiac the local police had seized a year earlier. He was told it had been taken to Washington, DC, and was being examined to determine if it violated any federal regulations. A grand jury in DC was convened to investigate the federal charges of mail fraud, but it failed to return an indictment. The licensees who had paid their money and signed their licensing agreements had agreed to assume the risks of a testing program and most of them did understand that part of the risk involved the historical efforts of the oil/auto cartel to suppress new technology that could affect their profitability or control over the markets they ruthlessly dominate.

Through his attorney, Al received an offer for exclusive rights to the Gen III. The amount of money involved beggars belief, and suffice it to say that Al again refused, as he had done in the early 80's when an offer was made for the Gen II device. The Big Boys have never attempted to prosecute him for the violation of federal emission control regulations. He is clearly guilty on this score so far as the Gen II is concerned. To do so would result in the exposure of the fraud they are perpetrating on the public. Their technology is obsolete. As Al has pointed out on his website, they do not want a reduction in the demand for oil. This would mean a reduction in oil company profits. If the consumer used half or less of the oil now being used, government tax revenues would be reduced accordingly. If the Gen III were to become available the public interest in fuel economy and clean air would be served and Allen Caggiano would become rich beyond wild imaginings, but the oil/energy cartel and its partner in government would suffer. Therefore, the Big Boys will continue to do all that they can to stop Al and his FIVS and to keep the public ignorant of any technology they do not themselves control. If they don’t control it, and if you don’t buy it from them, then it doesn’t work, or it’s a fraud.

“What you’re going to be doing now is not something you’re going to be discussing on the phone, but you are continuing, aren’t you?” I asked when I spoke with Al later on that summer.

“I am continuing! I’ve got enough people behind me that know how to do the right thing. I’m tired of all this bullshit! The Feds are going to screw up one time and I’m going to get em!”

“How’s that?”

“I don’t know how, I just don’t, but I’m tired of their bullshit. They don’t scare me. I go after the big boys and I’m like a little ant and they’re an elephant. I go and give em a little bite on the leg. And one of these days, I bite em enough and I’m gonna at least get the leg infected. I mean, they tried everything on me. They tried killing me, right? I don’t die, I don’t stay dead.. I ain’t giving up. Hey, you know what I seen one time that really impressed me? I was watching Discover on TV. Maybe it was National Geographic. Whatever. OK? I’m looking at this elephant, right, and he’s gliding across the desert, sideways, instead of walking, Know what it was?”

“No. That’s weird. What was it?”

“Ants! Thousands and thousands of ‘em. African ants carrying an elephant across the desert! They carried him to their house there in the desert and they just took him apart piece by piece. The elephant just disappeared!”


“And you know what I’d like to say? I’d like to say: ‘Calling all ants! Calling all ants! Come and help me with this fucking elephant!’”

Al’s got a new strategy for dealing with the elephant. In August, 2004, he got his site back up on the web,, The strategy is simple. He’s going to give away plans for the FIVS Gen III, just as he did with the Gen II, so that anyone, anywhere in the world with a computer to download the file, can have a detailed set of working drawings. These will be CAD drawings produced by an engineer that can be programmed into modern machines.

The “FIVS Gen III International” enterprise has been successfully suppressed. Al’s fight to manufacture and distribute his invention and enjoy the great wealth it would have given him is over. The Big Boys have broken his bank, and his health. The struggle has nearly destroyed him. The money would have been nice, but it never was the money that kept him going. He is now donating his work of a life time to the American people. The Big Boys can harass, intimidate, and attempt to kill one man and his American Dream, but can they do the same to many thousands of Americans and others around the world? Not likely.

Al will allow his patent application for the Gen III to expire. He can no longer afford the large investment required for a patent here and in at least ten other countries. His main concern now is to prevent the FIVS from being patented by anyone and to keep the device “open source”, so to speak, so that it cannot come under the control of the Big Boys and will remain freely available to the public. Though Al will not profit from his invention through licensing fees or royalties, there is considerable satisfaction for him in knowing that the Big Boys have not and will not ultimately win this game.

Those who returned their FIVs Gen III’s in the original testing program when Al issued the recall, owing to the crack in the cannister, will eventually receive a modified Gen III called the FIVS Gen IIIa. All the original licensees of the “FIVS Gen III International” operation, including those 44 in the US and Canada whose units were disappeared via UPS, will each receive the Gen IIIa device. Those 20 individuals who followed the pied piper, “David Rodale”, and sued Al, are out of luck, he says, unless they are willing to pay the attorney’s fees generated by the litigation. As of this writing 24 Gen IIIa’s have been sent to the original licensees. These units are now being clandestinely manufactured in the US.

Al is himself no longer involved. He is the inventor who gave it all away. But he will remain available to those who may want to discuss the FIVS Gen IIIa in the future. It is up to the people to carry on his American Dream and take control of their own destiny. The American love affair with the automobile does not have to spell disaster for the natural world, nor does it have to mean war with other countries. The FIVS Gen III provides a practical solution right now that will allow us to reduce our national demand for oil and help solve our air pollution problem. Most existing automobiles can be retrofitted with the FIVS right now so that most existing automobiles can run as efficiently and as pollution free as the new “hybrid” cars.

Semi-invalid and 60 years old, Al continues to work to regain his ability to walk. His approach to healing and health is innovative and creative, and he has achieved remarkable results so far. He’s started a new career as a loan officer for a mortgage lender, and he will point out that Centurion is not associated with the oil companies or auto manufacturers. Take a good look at the photograph of Al in his banker’s pinstripe suit. He’s a high mileage vehicle, he’s been in a few wrecks, but he still looks sharp, he’s not burning any oil, and he’s not for sale. Look carefully, and beneath the surface you will see something you don’t often see in people. The courage to be. Allen Caggiano has the courage to be Allen Caggiano, no matter what. He’s proved it. And if that isn’t the American Dream, what is? When we line up at the Pearly Gates for our interview with St. Peter, this is the question he’s most interested in: did you have the courage to be yourself?

2/13/04  ©  Joseph Danison