Default judgment entered for Mo. AG in Joplin tornado case
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Thursday that the Jasper County Circuit Court has granted his motion for default judgment against a Georgia man for alleged fraudulent donation solicitation.
Steve Blood allegedly solicited fraudulent donations through the Internet to help victims of the May 22 Joplin tornado.
"Unfortunately, there are always those who will take advantage of unsuspecting consumers during times of tragedy," Koster said. "Protecting the citizens of Joplin is this office's number one goal, and we will be aggressive in going after those who engage in charity scams or other fraudulent behavior affecting Joplin's recovery."
Koster said Blood ran Georgia Triangle Broadcasting, an Internet radio business hosted on three websites. Through the websites, Blood allegedly claimed to help victims of the Joplin and Tuscaloosa, Ala., tornados by selling "Storm-Aid" T-shirts, setting up benefit concerts and offering concert sponsorships for sale, along with providing an option to donate to storm relief efforts.
Those who bought the items, sponsorships or donations were required to use the PayPal link on the websites. None of the money Blood collected was used to help tornado victims, but it was allegedly used for Blood's personal expenses.
As part of the court order, Blood is required to pay restitution to those harmed by his solicitations and pay a penalty to the state amounting to 10 percent of that restitution, required to pay $13,000 in civil penalties, required to pay $10,400 in attorneys' costs, as well as other court costs and prosecution costs, prohibited from soliciting for disaster relief or any other similar cause and prohibited from using any online media, including social media, to engage in conduct prohibited by the court.