Kickstarter scammers will have to pay now


Run away! Run away!
Nov 19, 2011
Uncanny Valley
State court orders Kickstarted game creator to pay $54k for failing to deliver

More than a year after the Washington State Office of the Attorney General filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a Kickstarted game creator who failed to deliver, a state court ruled against the defendant and ordered that $54,851 be paid in civil fines, fees and restitution to backers of the bungled crowdfunding campaign.

This is especially notable in light of the fact that Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson believes this to be the nation's first-ever consumer protection lawsuit involving crowdfunding, and it happens to be over a tabletop game Kickstarter: Asylum Playing Cards.

As Polygon notes, this likely sets a legal precedent for taking action against people who run successful Kickstarters and don't deliver the goods, though some of the backers of this project reportedly began receiving decks of cards in June, shortly before the court issued its ruling in July.

The whole thing started when the Aslyum Kickstarter ended in October of 2012 at $25,146 in pledges, beating its original $15,000 goal. In 2014 Washington state's Attorney General's office alleged that campaign creator Edward J. Polchlepek III (aka Ed Nash) and his company, Altius Management had collected the money and neglected to deliver either the cards or the various backer rewards.

Since some of the campaign backers live in Washington, the state's legal team was able to get involved.

“Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft,” stated Ferguson in a press release announcing the ruling back in July. “If you accept money from consumers, and don’t follow through on your obligations, my office will hold you accountable.” The release then goes on to encourage people in similar situations to file complaints with their state's attorney general.

Nash and Altius Management have been ordered to pay their 31 backers in Washington a total of $668 in restitution, as well as $23,183 in legal fees and  $31,000 (a grand per backer burned) in civil penalties for violating the state Consumer Protection Act, but it's yet unclear whether they've actually done so. Gamasutra has reached out to the Washington state Attorney General's office for further details.
It seems no distinction between 'scamming' and 'failing to deliver', is made.
If you want to start a business, you need a proper business plan with realistic calculations, so maybe this gives the few good apples that can't deliver although their goal is reached more initiative to do their homework.

Most cases where the goal is reached but it doesn't get delivered are very fishy though, including Peter Molineux's "Godus".
Please don't disrespect Peter Molineux. He is a legendary developer.
No, he is a megalomaniac, elusive, lying, rich diva that does live from past reputation which he mostly got from the work of his colleagues.
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Please don't disrespect Peter Molineux. He is a legendary developer.
No, he is a megalomaniac, elusive, lying, rich diva that does live from past reputation which he mostly got from the work of his colleagues.

I hate it when people hold back and give a politically correct response. Tell us how you really feel about him :p
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I can see endless lawsuits brought by whiney morons against legitimate kickstater campaigns.

If a campaign misses it's deadline by any margin then it's off with their head.

Legal precedents is basically an exercise in opening flood gates, granted there are idiots running some campaigns that nver have a chance of delivering.
The funny thing about this "scam" is that some people have actually started getting their cards. I have to wonder if having to pay these massive damages (that are more than double what the project even collected from KS) is only hindering their ability to send out to everyone else.

Kickstarter needs to change and people need to change their attitude about crowdfunding. What I see over and over again is people who are oblivious to the realities of project budgeting and management. Because schedules are rarely met and budgets are rarely kept to. These are just not things that average people are exposed to. It's just extremely hard target to hit with any accuracy. Things can and do go wrong, even to the best planned projects. That's not to say that a lot of the KS failures were not terribly managed - they were. But here's where KS really needs to step in and change their policies to be more involved in minimizing the damage from this.

Too many KS contributors today want to have their cake and eat it too. They want all of the benefit of supporting a niche and experimental project by a small time developer who can't get traditional funding but none of the associated risk. It's just never going to work that way. If the KS project could take on all risk themselves they wouldn't be on KS, except for those few who are only using it as an advertising platform.
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