FTC charges game developer with misusing money raised on Kickstarter

It's the agency's first consumer protection complaint involving crowdfunding

The creator of the board game, The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, raised more than $122,000 on Kickstarter but spent the money on personal expenses, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission charged on Thursday, June 11, 2015.

The creator of the board game, The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, raised more than $122,000 on Kickstarter but spent the money on personal expenses, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission charged on Thursday, June 11, 2015.

A project developer who raised more than US$122,800 on Kickstarter to create a new board game has been charged by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission with using the money for personal equipment, moving expenses, rent and licenses for a separate project.

Erik Chevalier, doing business as The Forking Path, asked for money from individuals to produce a board game called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, but cancelled the project more than a year after the May 2012 funding campaign, the FTC said in its first consumer-protection complaint involving crowdfunding.

Chevalier promised refunds to backers, but many of them have not received the money, the FTC alleged. In a settlement announced by the FTC Thursday, Chevalier has agreed to refrain from any deceptive representations related to crowdfunding campaigns in the future.

It doesn't appear that backers who haven't yet received refunds will be getting them. The FTC's settlement order imposes a $111,793.71 judgment against Chevalier, but the amount is suspended because of his inability to pay. The full amount will be due if the agency finds that he misrepresented his financial condition.

Many consumers realize that crowdfunded projects involve "some uncertainty," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "But consumers should able to trust their money will actually be spent on the project they funded."

Chevalier was not available for comment on the settlement.

Chevalier's original Kickstarter goal was $35,000 for the board game, described as a "Lovecraftian game of urban destruction." More than 1,200 backers contributed to his campaign, with many contributing $75 or more to get a reward that included figurines in the game.

Chevalier provided several updates describing progress on the game, before cancelling it in July 2013.

"Every possible mistake was made, some due to my inexperience in board game publishing, others due to ego conflicts, legal issues and technical complications," Chevalier wrote then. "No matter the cause though these could all have been avoided by someone more experienced and I apparently was not that person."

Chevalier planned at the time to offer refunds to all backers. "I never set out to con anyone or to perpetrate a fraud but I did walk into a situation that was beyond my abilities and for that I'm deeply sorry," he wrote.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags U.S. Federal Trade Commissione-commerceregulationKickstarterCivil lawsuitslegalJessica RichgovernmentinternetErik Chevalier

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?