Florida Says Four Katrina Relief Sites Phony
Florida's attorney general has quickly obtained an injunction against a Nassau County man who allegedly set up four bogus Web sites to solicit donations for Hurricane Katrina relief.
None of the money defendant Robert E. Moneyhan collected through the Web sites actually went to victims of the hurricane, according to the suit filed Sept. 2 by Attorney General Charlie Crist.
The injunction was issued the same day and the Web sites are no longer soliciting donations, a statement from Crist's office says. Instead, Crist says, Moneyhan is offering to sell the four domain names - katrinahelp.com, katrinadonations.com, katrinarelief.com and katrinarelieffund.com.
Moneyhan never registered with the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, a requirement under Florida law for anyone seeking to collect charitable donations, the suit says.
According to the complaint, money donated through the Web sites wound up in Moneyhan's private PayPal account. Even if Moneyhan had sent the money to relief efforts, the suit said, he violated Florida's deceptive-advertising law by claiming that 100 percent of donations would benefit hurricane victims, when in fact PayPal would keep 2.9 percent of each donation as a transaction fee.
The suit alleges three counts under the Florida Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which carries a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.