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Koster Files Two Lawsuits Against Alleged Fundraising Scams

On Thursday afternoon Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster held a press conference to announce lawsuits that will target two fraudulent fundraisers.  KSMU’s Justin Lux reports.

 The first lawsuit is against the Alivio Foundation, a Puerto Rican-based group that was discovered while the Attorney General’s office was scanning the internet for fake organizations, something Koster says they’ve been doing since the tornado hit.

 The second lawsuit was filed against Steve Blood, a Georgia resident who runs an internet radio business.  Koster says his office will continue to do anything to aid those in Joplin.

“It is incredibly meaningful to us in Jefferson City that we are standing strong with the people of Joplin as they move through this crisis,” he says.

 Koster says both parties defrauded donors out of a total of $15,000.  He says while the amount isn’t extremely large, that’s not the point.

 “No amount of money is too small for us to come down to Joplin and let the people in Joplin know that stamping out consumer fraud in that environment is priority number one for us,” Koster explains.

 Koster says the May 22nddisaster is another reminder to always do some research before deciding which charity to donate to.  In the wake of the tornado, citizens have been warned of fundraising scams.  Koster also says it’s always best to go with what you know.

“It’s always safest to give to established charities like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund,” says Koster.

 Koster says the Alivio Foundation was soliciting donations for tornado victims by claiming all proceeds would benefit a Catholic church and charity.  Blood was collecting funds by selling T-shirts and setting up benefit concerts and allegedly using the money for his own expenses.

 You can visit the Attorney General’s website, which has a “Check a Charity” feature, allowing you to do background research on charities to see whether they’re registered.

 For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.

 Link: “Check a Charity”