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Attorney general garners judgment for tornado fraud

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Attorney General Chris Koster yesterday was granted a motion for default judgment against a Georgia man for fraudulently soliciting donations for Joplin tornado victims.

According to a judgment approved in Jasper County Circuit Court, Steve Blood ran an online radio business, Georgia Triangle Broadcasting, through three separate Web sites in order to solicit the donations.

Blood used the Web sites to sell "Storm-Aid" T-shirts, set up benefit concerts and sell concert sponsorships, under the pretense of helping victims of the Joplin and Tuscaloosa, Ala., tornados. Donations were made through PayPal links on the Web sites, but none of the money actually went toward tornado victims. Money was instead used for Blood's personal expenses, the release said.

The court order requires Blood to:
  • pay restitution to individuals and a penalty to the state amounting to 10 percent of that restitution;
  • pay $13,000 in civil penalties;
  • pay $10,400 in attorneys' costs, courts costs and investigation/prosecution costs; and
  • stop using online media, including social media, to engage in court-prohibited conduct.
“Unfortunately, there are always those who will take advantage of unsuspecting consumers during times of tragedy,” Koster said in the release. “Protecting the citizens of Joplin is this office’s No. 1 goal, and we will be aggressive in going after those who engage in charity scams or other fraudulent behavior affecting Joplin’s recovery.”[[In-content Ad]]

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