A company based in Puerto Rico raised nearly $10,000 dollars to help St. Peter in Joplin recover from the tornado that levelled it.
Only one problem, the church knew nothing about it and never received the money.
Father Jay Friedle says the church nor Catholic Charities had ever heard of the Alivio Foundation, nor have any area churches received any funds from it. There is no record of the Alivio Foundation giving funds to any organization helping Joplin residents.
In a separate case, Koster is also suing Steve Blood, who runs an internet radio business through three websites. Blood is based in Georgia.
Through these websites, Blood claims 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.
Blood allegedly collected $5,000 through the site, all of which Koster says has gone to pay for Blood’s personal expenses.
“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 is asking the court to issue an injunction prohibiting both Alivio and Blood from further violations of the Merchandising Practices Act and to require that all funds collected go to the intended recipients. In addition, he is asking the court to require each of the defendants to provide full restitution to donors; pay a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation of the law; pay a penalty to the state of 10 percent of the total restitution; and pay all court and investigative costs.