JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Monday that he has mailed $4,490.37 checks to two Joplin charities that were defrauded after the May 22 Joplin tornado.
The restitution checks are part of a settlement agreement with Alivio Foundation Inc., based in Puerto Rico, to resolve allegations of fraudulently soliciting donations for St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Mansfield and Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri. The foundation allegedly claimed that the donations would go to aid victims of the tornado.
Soon after the tornado struck, Alivio allegedly began soliciting donations through a PayPal link on its website and through Crowdrise, an online donation facilitator. Alivio allegedly claimed that the donations would go to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Mansfield and St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church and Caritas to be used for survivor assistance and to help relatives of Joplin tornado victims. Neither organization had ever heard of the foundation and they did not receive any funds from it.
"Unfortunately, there are always those who will take advantage of unsuspecting consumers during times of tragedy," Koster said, "I'm gratified that the attorney general's office was able to recover these donations and put them in the hands of the organizations the generous donors intended. The donors now can rest assured the money they donated will be used to benefit the Joplin tornado victims."
The agreement prohibits Alivio from further soliciting donations in Missouri in the future.