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Attorney General's News Release

October 19, 2011

Attorney General Koster obtains judgment against Puerto Rico-based foundation for charity fraud related to Joplin tornado

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today he has obtained a consent judgment against Alivio Foundation, Inc., based in Puerto Rico, for allegedly fraudulently soliciting donations through the internet to help victims of the May 22 Joplin tornado.

“Unfortunately, there are always those who will take advantage of unsuspecting consumers during times of tragedy,” Koster said, “We will continue to be aggressive in going after those who engage in charity scams or other fraudulent behavior affecting Joplin’s recovery.”

Koster said that soon after the tornado, Alivio began soliciting donations through a PayPal link on its website and through Crowdrise, an online donation conduit. Alivio claimed the donations would go to Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Marshfield to be use to assist survivors and relatives of Joplin tornado victims. In order to encourage donations, Alivio posted on its website pictures of the Joplin devastation and links to various news stories about the tornado.

Koster said neither religious organization had ever heard of the Alivio Foundation prior to his filing the action, nor had any Joplin-area churches received any funds from it. Also, he said there was no record of the Alivio Foundation giving funds to any organization helping Joplin residents before Koster obtained a Temporary Restraining Order against Alivio.

Koster said under the agreement, Alivio is prohibited from further soliciting donations in Missouri and is required to transfer all funds ostensibly collected for Joplin tornado victims to the Attorney General’s Merchandising Practices Restitution Fund, to be distributed to benefit the tornado victims through Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Marshfield. Koster said that amount is almost $9,000.

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