A bad legal history and crowdfunding
November 27, 2012 4:12 PM   Subscribe

If you knew that someone who has put a project on a crowdfunding site (think IndieGoGo or Kickstarter) has been convicted of check fraud and also started some other projects before the crowdfunding era that they never delivered on...what would you do?

To clarify, this person has legal judgements against them from check fraud and also a default judgement against them from a magazine project they never delivered to subscribers. Also an assortment of DUIs and evading arrest misdemeanors. This was ten years ago. Should I contact the crowd-funding site? Post the details on social networking sites? Or is this just totally irrelevant?
posted by ponytime to Human Relations (11 answers total)
I'm not a lawyer but it seems to me you shouldn't post the information on social networking sites since I think that would be both inappropriate and also subject you to possible unpleasant legal ramifications. It seems it might be appropriate to let the site administrators themselves know this information as long as it is public information. Then they can decide themselves, with the best interest of their company and their site users in mind, what to do with the information.
posted by Dansaman at 4:17 PM on November 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

how strong is you "know" - like undeniable proof or "i did some google stalking and i think this is the same person"?

if it's the first, i don't think you should post directly about his criminal record or whatever, but even 10 years ago, even precrowdfunding, surely there are message board posts or similar about the failed project. tweet something like "is this [url of crowdfunding page] the same as this [url of discussion of failed project]?? he's got some nerve!" @ the crowdfunding site and a couple linkbait type of blogs who deal in the area these projects are in.

i honestly can't see an argument for it not being important for the new funders.
posted by nadawi at 5:00 PM on November 27, 2012

I work for filmmakers who've bounced checks, been sued, gotten arrested for drug charges, filed for bankruptcy and so on. Not any of my business. I don't see what the DUI has to do with the Kickstarter project here. What do you hope to achieve, besides a sense of self-righteousness? Based on your previous question, this sort of stuff really bothers you. I would not feel the same way.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:05 PM on November 27, 2012

The information is definitely him and it is court records. I am concerned because people I know are interested in investing in this project. THey have also been promoting the project heavily in the area in which I write. The DUI doesn't concern me, the project in the past that he didn't finish and took the money does. I will contact the crowdfunding site.
posted by ponytime at 5:09 PM on November 27, 2012

People who are considering investing money deserve as much accurate information related to an investment as they are able to get. An individuals business track record is highly relevant. If you do NOT act and innocent people lose money, you will not be feeling too great about it.

I believe you have a moral obligation to let the site know, and that obligation has nothing to do with the DUI or the fact that you know people who are thinking of investing.

If you knew people were thinking about buying from an investment advisor with Bernie Madoffs record, would you not feel an obligation to tell them? How would you live with yourself if you didnt?
posted by jcworth at 5:43 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would inform the site admins and link them to the relevant public records.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:48 PM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would inform the people you know about this, since they will take comments from you at face value, and would appreciate you giving them relevant information. Other than that, whatever information you spread out on the internet could later be used against you, no matter how good your intentions are. If you spread the word to people you know who are participating in this, they may do the same to others, which would get you the result I'm guessing you want (the project defunded and this person not getting the money).
posted by markblasco at 6:56 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I work for a crowdfunding site and we would want to be informed of all non-speculative issues like this, so we can make up our own mind. We would be concerned about charge backs and non-delivery issues, and that may affect how we work with this individual.

That said, emailing us a 05:00 in the morning to tell us that your ex-boyfriend whose illegitimate baby you are carrying is a prick and you are going to sue him, and you are going to sue us for the money he is raising on our site, and you are going to publish all the details in the national UK newspaper where you are an assistant editor, and it might make our brand look bad ... well ... that will be ignored.

But it did happen ... just a few months ago. I Kid You Not!

posted by jannw at 2:12 AM on November 28, 2012

to be clear ... "Also an assortment of DUIs and evading arrest misdemeanors" - we don't really care about that.
posted by jannw at 2:14 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I contacted the site. Thanks everyone! That puts my mind at peace.
posted by ponytime at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2012

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