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Crime, Law and Justice
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington AG Wins $55K Judgment Against Kickstarter Campaign Sponsor

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Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has won a $55,000 judgment against the backer of a Kickstarter campaign that failed to deliver. 

The announcement Monday concludes what’s believed to be the first government action against a crowdfunding effort.

The judgment is against a man named Ed Nash and his Nashville-based company. In 2012, Nash launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a “retro-horror themed” deck of playing cards called “Asylum.” The project quickly gained 800 backers who pledged over $25,000.

But Nash never delivered. Last year, Ferguson filed suit on behalf of the 31 Washington residents who helped fund the project, but didn’t get their deck of cards.

“Crowdfunding sites can be wonderful opportunities for the buyer and for the seller, but we want to make sure that those who are selling products on these sites know they need to play by the rules or we’re going to hold them accountable,” Ferguson said. “And we also want the consumers to know it is buyer beware.”

The judgment includes restitution for the Washington consumers. But whether any of that money will be recovered remains to be seen. Ferguson said Nash has proved elusive.