JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Friday that he has taken action against four people who allegedly operated a charity scam in violation of the state's charitable donations solicitation laws.
Koster has asked the court to order the Nixa, Mo.-based Susan Reade Durham and North Carolina residents Marilyn Broerman, David Broerman and Raymond Bauer to stop soliciting money in the state.
Durham allegedly placed nearly 148 donation canisters at businesses around Missouri claiming that the money collected would help families find their missing children. The canisters were covered with photos of missing children printed from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website, Koster says.
Koster alleged that none of the money went to charity and that Durham has been taking close to $3,400 a month for her own use.
The Broermans and Bauer allegedly created and operated a scheme to sell the business plan and materials needed to carry out Durham's donation canister operation. Durham allegedly paid these three defendants $36,700 for 200 canisters and other materials, and was promised exclusive rights to the Missouri territory between Springfield and Branson.
"I know that many, many Missourians have placed money in these types of canisters with full confidence that their donations were going to charitable organizations," Koster said. "It is contemptible that there are those who would steal from others in the name of charity. This office will aggressively go after those who do."
Koster is seeking permanent injunctions against each of the defendants to stop them from soliciting in Missouri. He also wants the defendants to pay restitution to those who donated or to a charity for donors who cannot be located and seeks civil penalties of $1,000 for each violation of the law.
Finally, Koster has asked for 10 percent of the total restitution ordered to go to the state and wants all costs associated with the suit.