Ex-Governor Jay Nixon was targeted in scam, authorities say.
Jeffrey Kowalski, who authorities say sent bogus bills by the dozens to people including former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, has been sentenced to seventeen months in prison.
The 36-year-old has been locked in a complicated, bizarre battle with Missouri officials for the better part of a decade. Now in custody in a Camden County jail, he formerly lived in Michigan. It's there he launched a nebulous education website — and targeted a series of Missouri office holders.
The RFT's Danny Wicentowski wrote
about Kowalski's activities in 2016. The serial scammer was a busy guy, and his work on his website involved sending school superintendents in Missouri "open records" requests for public info, such as their salaries, as well as a whole bunch of private details, such as their dates of birth and even sexual orientation, saying it would be posted on a database.
"We will be listing your sexual orientation as homosexual by default," one of his requests said in part. "If this is not your sexual orientation, please respond to this electronic mail message so we can update accordingly."
Nixon, who was the state's attorney general in the early 2000s when Kowalski's activities began, filed a suit to get him to stop. When Chris Koster took over as attorney general, he also tangled with Kowalski, and the Michigan man filed a suit against him in what appears to have been preemptive strike. The suit was quickly dismissed.
By 2016, Kowalski was sending out fake tax forms to school superintendents, authorities say. He also sent $50 collection notices to more than 70 people in Missouri, including Nixon, who was governor at the time.
Koster filed criminal charges and sought injunction in civil court against Kowalski and his company, StarProse Corporation.
Kowalski, now on his third Missouri attorney general in Josh Hawley, was found guilty by jury in July of two counts violating the state's merchandising practices act, one count attempted identity theft and one count attempted stealing by deceit.
“Identity theft is an issue my Office takes very seriously,” Hawley said. “We will aggressively prosecute anyone who attempts to steal and profit from another person’s personal information.”
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