FTC kicks off kickstarter scammers for the first time
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) first took up a case related to crowdfunding, namely, an unsuccessful fundraising campaign on the Kickstarter website.
FTC is an independent agency designed to protect consumer rights and monitor compliance with antitrust laws. A five-member commission participated in the investigation of many serious cases, responding to complaints from companies and consumers affected by unfair competition or fraudulent activities.
Entrepreneur Erik Chevalier, under the guise of The Forking Path, Co.
In May 2012, he raised $ 122,874 from investors in 1246 as a pre-order on the board game " of The Doom That Came the To The Atlantic City "
The board was sold at prices ranging from $ 50 for delivery in November 2012. For a larger amount, you could also get a tin figure, for $ 1000 they promised to draw an individual game card, and for $ 2500 the game developers were even ready to play with you.
Having successfully collected the required amount, Eric Chevalier for several months updated the blog posts and talked about the progress of affairs. But when several months after the deadline, he suddenly announced the completion of work on the project, without returning the money paid. In July 2013, he nevertheless apologized and promisedreturn the money, but did not do it on time.
The investigation revealed that Chevalier spent money on personal needs: moving to Oregon, renting a house, personal equipment and licenses for new business projects.
Chevalier agreed with the commission on the following: 1) he is forbidden to give false information about his financial well-being; 2) to postpone payment of compensation to deceived investors in the amount of $ 111,794 until his true financial well-being becomes known; 3) to prohibit a businessman from using for personal purposes the personal information about customers that he received during the collection of orders.
Chevalier refused to admit his guilt.
According to the results of the voting of the commission members, the votes were distributed 5-0 in favor of transferring the case to court. Accordingly, for the Oregon Circuit Court, the FTC prepared documents with the results of its investigation.
The FTC calls on anyone who knows about Kickstarter fraud to send complaints to the FTC and the prosecutor .
According to Kickstarter statistics, the percentage of successfully funded projects on the site is 37.75% . The rest did not raise the necessary funds.
Now the FTC will deal with tricksters who raised money but didn’t release anything. And there are quite a few of them. One of the most egregious cases is Arkami, which in March 2013 raised $ 473 thousand to pre-sell USB flash drives with passwords.MyIDkey , but never released anything.