FTC Goes After Fraudulent Kickstarters, Fines Fraudster $111,793

The FTC has been making waves lately with their attempts to bring back honor and justice to the free trade market in America. Capitalism, unchecked, can lead a man down a road toward unfettered greed and the FTC is making sure that said greed stays within the rules of the law. In the case of a recent Kickstarter by Erik Chevalier called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, it turned out that Chevalier didn’t use the money for the intended purposes of the Kickstarter and he’s been fined $111,793 for his misdeeds.

The RT posted up a story based on the public press release from the official FTC website, where Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, commented about Chevalier’s board game that never came to be, saying…

“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,” … “But consumers should be able to trust their money will actually be spent on the project they funded.”

More than a thousand board game aficionados chipped in a whopping $122,874 to Chevalier and his company The Forking Path.

Over on Kickstarter page Chevalier posted the following message on July 31st, 2013, stating…

“As of this evening I’ve begun refunding backers along the terms I initially outlined in the Terminus update. I’ve refunded the top backer, James Bauer, his full $2500 and contacted everyone in the next tier down to confirm payment methods.”

 

“Every step I’ve taken in the last year was in service to this game. Projects of this scope are sometimes far more complex than they seem to anyone on the outside. They take more than anyone could have guessed, the creators included.”

This was not good enough for the FTC.

According to the FTC’s post…

“Despite Chevalier’s promises he did not provide the rewards, nor did he provide refunds to his backers. In fact, according to the FTC’s complaint, 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.”

The last time a video game journalist went an exposed a defrauding campaign involving crowd-funding, he was allegedly blacklisted from the industry by a cabal of journalists on a secret mailing group.

Thankfully, the FTC is stepping up their efforts to look into the gaming industry – even if it’s only for board games – to expose and mete nefarious intentions from crowd-funding fraudsters by putting them directly in the headlights of justice.

With the help of #GamerGate, the FTC has also been cracking down on the gutter trash of web content, and the platforms hosting catalogs of harangued propaganda while spewing agenda-driven misinformation.

If the FTC keeps it up soon we’ll see #GamerGate step back into the shadows as the watch dog that the gaming industry needs, even if it isn’t the one it deserves.

As for The Doom That Came To Atlantic City, the board game was resuscitated by Cryptozonic Entertainment and you can learn more about it over on their official website.

(Main image courtesy of Corporal Cynic)

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13 thoughts on “FTC Goes After Fraudulent Kickstarters, Fines Fraudster $111,793

    1. Oh really? Do you know the artist? I can link to their page in the article, otherwise I’ll just toss in a link to your Steam Community group.

  1. It’s so odd seeing a government organization actually doing its intended job to protect consumers instead of the usual corporations or government officials they are intended to protect consumers against.

  2. Maybe the FTC, and the general police/authorities too, can go after the two brothers who scammed people with “Confederate Express” and who squatted in a lady’s apartment after renting from AirBNB? They stole tens of thousands of dollars from Kickstarter, consistently lied and cheated, then not only squatted illegally in someone’s home; but TAUNTED them about it afterwards.

    Why, pray tell, are these two brothers not locked up?

    1. Never heard of this.

      Sounds like those guys were prime-time multi-level douche bags. Has this story been covered enough to get the authorities involved?

      1. Most of the news coverage focused purely on their AirBNB squatting, not nearly enough on the vanishing, and subsequent theft, of just shy of $40k. Cheeky fuckers even had the brass balls to come BACK to Kickstarter and try to run a second campaign, with some bullshit about how another company had bought the original company, Kilobite, and were going to keep them on full-time on the proviso that they, Kilobite, put “ConEx” on hold and finished this new company’s game “Knuckle Club”.

        Naturally this didn’t go down well with the backers of “ConEx”, and eventually even Kickstarter stepped in to shut down the new KS for the new game. That was the last we heard of the devs.

        https://www.destructoid.com/so-the-confederate-express-developers-might-just-be-scumbags-278807.phtml
        https://cliqist.com/2014/07/22/confederate-express-developer-fingered-as-airbnb-squatter/
        https://consumerist.com/2014/07/31/kickstarter-suspends-alleged-airbnb-squatters-second-game-campaign/
        https://www.kesq.com/news/squatter-in-palm-springs-also-accused-of-duping-online-gamers/27096438

      2. As for why the authorities aren’t involved, I guess they thought the case was settled. The eviction notice finally came through, the developers – two brothers, as it turns out, vacated the apartment and that was it. The Kickstarter thing doesn’t seem to break any laws yet, which I absolutely think needs to change. Anyone using Kickstarter should be held fully, and legally, accountable.

      3. If they didn’t deliver on their promises in the Kickstarter, and used the money for more than what it was intended for, then they are in violation of the FTC’s guide for fraud.

        It is illegal and they can be fined or jailed for it if they’re found guilty after a thorough investigation.

        EDIT: Also it looks like they said ConEx was scheduled for Dec 2014 release so I’ll see if it’s available somewhere.

      4. Heh, definitely. There may need to be an organized e-mail campaign put into play to help get their attention focused on these scammers. Definitely something to consider for Kotaku in Action and/or 8chan.

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