October 6, 2006
Poplar Bluff, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon has pulled the plug on a Web site design firm that accepted payment for services from small businesses and then failed to deliver on a variety of promises, defrauding at least 15 victims out of thousands of dollars. Circuit Judge Mark Richardson granted Nixon a temporary restraining order against Christina Stevens of Poplar Bluff, owner and operator of Just Two Girls and The Tech Girls. Nixon's lawsuit, filed in Butler County Circuit Court, is also seeking injunctions and appropriate penalties.
Nixon says the defendant marketed her services mostly to women small business owners who do most of their business online. Stevens claimed that her business provided Web site design and development, Web hosting, installation of special Web site features such as shopping carts and security protections, Internet domain name registration and graphic design. The 15 victims who filed complaints with the Attorney General's Office paid between $500 and $800 for the services, and included the wives of four current major league baseball players.
“Many small business owners are too busy to learn Web site design themselves, so they entrust their hard-earned money to a Web design firm such as the defendant's to help market themselves,” Nixon said. “Instead of getting a Web site to help their bottom line, these victims were fed a line by the defendant about the quality and timeliness of services and verbally harassed when they had complaints.”
Nixon alleges that the defendant engaged in numerous instances of fraud and deception, including:
Nixon is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against Stevens to prohibit her from continuing to solicit and provide internet services such as Web design to consumers. The lawsuit also asks the court to order the defendant to provide full restitution to all consumers from whom she received payment for Web design services and were victimized by fraud and deception; pay a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation to the state; pay to the state an amount of money equal to ten percent of the total restitution paid by the defendant to her victims; and pay all court, investigative and prosecution costs in the case.