Attorney General Koster obtains judgment against Georgia man in Joplin tornado charity fraud case

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today the Jasper County Circuit Court has granted his motion for default judgment against Steve Blood, of Georgia, for fraudulently soliciting donations through the internet to help victims of the May 22 Joplin tornado.

“Unfortunately, there are always those who will take advantage of unsuspecting consumers during times of tragedy,” Koster said, “Protecting the citizens of Joplin is this office’s number one goal, and we will be aggressive in going after those who engage in charity scams or other fraudulent behavior affecting Joplin’s recovery.”

Koster said Blood ran an internet radio business, Georgia Triangle Broadcasting, through three websites. Through the websites, Blood claimed to help victims of the Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornados by selling “Storm-Aid” t-shirts, setting up benefit concerts and offering concert sponsorships for sale, and providing an option to donate to Storm Relief efforts. Anyone who bought a t-shirt, concert ticket or sponsorship, or made a donation, was required use the PayPal link on the websites. None of the money Blood collected was used to help tornado victims, but rather, was used for Blood’s personal expenses.

Koster said under the court order, Blood is:

  • required to pay restitution to those harmed by his solicitations and pay a penalty to the state amounting to 10% of that restitution;
  • required to pay $13,000 in civil penalties;
  • required to pay $10,400 attorneys’ costs, as well as court costs and investigation/prosecution costs;
  • prohibited from soliciting for disaster relief or any other similar cause; and
  • prohibited from using any online media, including social media, to engage in conduct prohibited by the court.

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