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Attorney General's News Release

March 4, 2011

Attorney General Koster takes action to shut down Springfield charity scam

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today asked a Greene County court to order a Nixa woman and three North Carolina residents to stop soliciting money and to pay restitution and civil penalties for violating the state’s charitable donations solicitation laws.

Koster said Susan Reade Durham, of Nixa, placed approximately 148 donation canisters at businesses in Springfield ostensibly to collect money to help families find their missing children. The canisters have a slot for money, a tray of candy available for those who give, and are covered with pictures of missing children printed from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website. Koster said instead of the money going to charity, it went into Durham’s pocket. He said estimates are that Durham averages collecting at least $3,400 a month.

Koster said defendants Marilyn Broerman, David Broerman, and Raymond Bauer, based in North Carolina, created and operated a scheme to sell the business plan and materials needed to carry out Durham’s donation canister operation. Durham paid the North Carolina defendants $36,700 for 200 canisters, an operations manual, bookkeeping forms, missing children pictures, and “exclusive rights” to the territory from Springfield to Branson.

“I know that many, many Missourians have placed money in these types of canisters with full confidence that their donations were going to charitable organizations,” Koster said. “It is contemptible that there are those who would steal from others in the name of charity. This office will aggressively go after those who do.”

Koster is asking the court to issue permanent injunctions prohibiting each of the defendants from soliciting in Missouri; to pay restitution to those who donated or to charity for donors who cannot be located; to pay civil penalties of $1,000 for each violation of the law; to pay the state of Missouri 10 percent of the total restitution ordered; and to pay all court, investigative, and prosecution costs.

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