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美华盛顿州开出首例众筹诈骗罚单

近日,华盛顿州司法部长办公室责令Atlius负责人Ed Polchlopek III向该州及在Kickstarter上为"棋牌室庇护所"提供支持的31位捐款人赔偿54,841美元。

Polchlopek(又名Ed Nash)的"复古惊恐主题扑克牌"项目在Kickstarter上向810位捐款人筹集了25,000美元,并承诺给支持者带来惊人的回报。而此番判决之后,这31位来自华盛顿的受害者每人将获得688美元的赔偿金。

司法部长Bob Ferguson在七月声明中郑重指出:"华盛顿不会容忍众筹诈骗","如果你向人们筹到了钱,但没有兑现承诺,就必须承担相关责任。"

虽然媒体对这项声明的关注度不大,但它毕竟是依据《消费者保护法》解决的第一起涉及众筹网站的案例。Polchlopek在田纳西州纳什维尔注册的娱乐公司在2014年遭到华盛顿监管部门起诉,起诉方认为Polchopek未实现产品承诺,并拒绝给投资者退回资金。

联邦贸易委员会在6月份解决了首个众筹欺诈案例,责令Erik Chevalier把在Kickstarter上为某个桌面游戏筹集的 122,000美元返还给1246位支持者,因为这款游戏从未面世。

其他的众筹诈骗案例也不少。比如一位名叫Eric Garner的来自警察家庭的受害者,有人借他的名义在众筹网站上筹集到12多万美元。目前还没有人起诉这些不翼而飞的钱。

The Washington state Attorney General's office ordered Atlius Management owner Ed Polchlopek III to pay $54,841 in restitution and civil consumer protection penalties to the state and 31 Washingtonian backers of the Asylum Playing Cards Kickstarter campaign.

Polchlopek, who also went by Ed Nash, received more than $25,000 from 810 donors in seed money for his "retro-horror themed playing card" project, promising supporters "amazing rewards." Each of the 31 Washington residential victims will receive $688.

"Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft," Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in aJuly statement announcing the order. "If you accept money from consumers, and don't follow through on your obligations, my office will hold you accountable."

The verdict went virtually undetected by media outlets, but resolves the first case against a crowdfunding site under the Consumer Protection Act. Washington regulators filed suit against Polchlopek's Nashville, Tennessee-based entertainment company in 2014 for failing to complete the product and refusing to give investors refunds.

Crowdfunding sites are best known for their noble potential - encouraging ingenuity and changing lives through community fundraising. But the sites also have a darker side and some campaigns have been known to rip off unsuspecting donators.

The Federal Trade Commission settled its first crowdfunding fraud case in June, ordering Erik Chevalier to repay the $122,000 he received through 1,246 Kickstarter backers to launch a board game that was never produced.

Moreover, the family of police brutality victim Eric Garner never received the more than $120,000 raised in his name on crowdfunding sites. No charges have been filed yet regarding the missing money.


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