The Federal Trade Commission just settled its first case concerning a guy who took a bunch of money on Kickstarter without fulfilling the promises he made to backers. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the epic governmental justice smackdown you might have hoped for.
As Polygon reports, the case is that of “The Doom That Came to Atlantic City,” a Lovecraft-meets-Monopoly board game where the aim is “urban destruction.” The campaign drew in some $122,874 from 1,246 backers, but failed to produce a game as promised, issue refunds or follow through on promised backer rewards.
Eventually, the game’s creators did release “The Doom That Came to Atlantic City,” but with the help of publisher Cryptozoic and not with the money raised on Kickstarter—because the project’s manager, Erik Chevalier, used it for all kinds of personal expenses, including rent, buying licenses for other projects he was working on, and moving himself and all his stuff to Oregon.
Despite promising a game and backer rewards over the next year, and then refunds after announcing that the project was canceled, Chevalier never followed through on any of it.
He reached a settlement with the FTC that includes a fine of $111,793.71, but according to the government, he doesn’t actually have that kind of money (big surprise). So seeing as he can’t pay it, that portion of the sentence is suspended, so long as he doesn’t turn out to have been lying about his financial situation.
The rest of the settlement? Promising not to grift people through crowdfunding again (we assume that promise was followed by the words “scout’s honor”). Oh, and he also is not allowed to sell all the information about backers he vacuumed up through Kickstarter. Justice is served?
You can read the full FTC complaint here.