Attorney General Chris Koster on March 4 asked a Greene County court to order a Nixa woman and three North Carolina residents to stop soliciting money using a fake charity and to pay restitution and civil penalties for violating state charitable donation solicitation laws, according to a news release from his office.
Koster alleges Susan Durham, of Nixa, set up approximately 148 donation canisters in Springfield with pictures of missing children printed from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Web site. The canisters have a slot for money and a tray of candy for donors.
Koster estimates that Durham pockets at least $3,400 a month from the false donation canisters, according to the release.
Koster said defendants Marilyn Broerman, David Broerman and Raymond Bauer, of North Carolina, created and operated a scheme to sell the business plan and materials needed for the scam, for which Durham allegedly paid approximately $36,700. Materials included 200 canisters, an operations manual, bookkeeping forms, missing children pictures and exclusive rights to the territory from Springfield to 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 in the release. “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 asking the court to issue permanent injunctions to:
- prohibit each defendant from soliciting in Missouri;
- pay restitution to those who donated;
- pay civil penalties of $1,000 for each violation of the law;
- pay the state of Missouri 10 percent of the total restitution ordered; and
- pay all court, investigative and prosecution costs.