The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has gone after its first non-delivering crowdfunder, fining board game “maker” Eric Chevalier for raising $122,000 on Kickstarter and not producing anything.
Chevalier promised a game called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, but spent the money on personal expenses. He provided neither a game nor refunds, despite updates that had claimed progress. He cancelled the project after 14 months and said he’d provide refunds; he did not.
Chevalier was fined $111,000 and change (although the fine was suspended because he can’t pay) and has to destroy his backers’ personal information.
Note that the sin here wasn’t non-delivery; it was not delivering after misappropriating the money and not living up to refund promises. It’s financial crime that the FTC appears to be worried about, not technical incompetence. It’s OK not to deliver, because that’s part of the crowdfunding game. But you’ve apparently got to try.