AG Sues “Fraudulent” Joplin Tornado Charities
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (KMOX)- Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against Alivio Foundation Inc. of Puerto Rico and Steve Blood of Georgia, for allegedly fraudulently soliciting donations through the internet to help victims of the May 22 Joplin tornado.
Koster says that soon after the tornado, Alivio began soliciting donations through a PayPal link on its website and through the online donation conduit, Crowdwise. Alivio claimed the donations would be used to assist tornado victims and claimed St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church and Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri would distribute the donations.
He says neither the church nor Catholic Charities had never heard of the Alivio Foundation and there is no record of the foundation giving funds to any organization helping Joplin residents. The company’s page on Crowdwise’s website reports it raised $9,700.
Koster says Blood runs an internet radio business through three websites and claims to help victims of the Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes by selling “Storm-Aid” t-shirts, setting up benefit concerts.
Blood has reportedly collected $5,000. Koster says none of the money has gone to help tornado victims, but has been used by Blood for personal expenses.
Koster is asking the court to issue an injunction prohibiting Alivio and Blood from committing further violations of the Merchandising Practices Act and to require all funds collected to go to the intended recipients. He also wants the court to require each defendant pay full restitution, pay a penalty of $1,000 per violation, pay the state restitution and pay all court and investigative costs.
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