Crowdfunding Becomes Crowdfrauding


FTC / Federal Trade CommissionIt probably was only a matter of time before something like this happened: The beneficiary of a Kickstarter campaign, rather than kicking off a profitable venture, instead effectively kicked his benefactors in the derriere.

The good news: The miscreant has been apprehended by the FTC.

The bad news: There will be no restitutin for almost $122,000 in ill-gotten contributions due to the miscreant’s inability to pay.

FTC said, “Erik Chevalier, also doing business as The Forking Path Co., sought money from consumers to produce a board game called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City that had been created by two prominent board game artists.”

“Many consumers enjoy the opportunity to take part in the development of a product or service through crowdfunding, and they generally know there’s some uncertainty involved in helping start something new,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But consumers should able to trust their money will actually be spent on the project they funded.”

1,246 backers kicked in $75 or more, in most cases, but after 14 months, Chevalier said he was abandoning the project and providing refunds. But no refunds were forthcoming.

Where did the money go? The FTC said, “Chevalier spent most of the money on unrelated personal expenses such as rent, moving himself to Oregon, personal equipment, and licenses for a different project.”

A judgement of $111,793.71 has been levied against Chevalier, but has been suspended due to his inability to pay. It will be reinstated if it turns out he misstated his financial situation.