JEFFERSON CITY — Hunters responding to an online advertisement promising prime deer hunting on private land in Clinton County received a surprise when they arrived, authorities said.
The advertised 18,000 to 20,000-acre wildlife refuge turned out to be only a few thousand acres of less than prime hunting land, and the hunting lodge they had been promised was a modest house that couldn’t hold all the hunters, according to the Missouri Attorney General’s office. Several of the hunters paid to stay in motels, said Beth Hammock, a spokesman for office.
“They thought they were getting an African safari when really they were getting scammed,” Hammock said.
The office announced Wednesday that Mark A. Henry had been ordered to repay the hunters about $15,000 and never again advertise or sell goods over the Internet.
About a dozen people had paid the Olathe, Kan., man to book hunts, including some Texans who paid Henry $2,500 each. The scam occurred in 2000, and Attorney General Jay Nixon, whose office handles cases involving unfair merchandising practices, sued Henry in December 2003 for violating Missouri’s consumer protection laws.
An injunction, signed last week by Clinton County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Griffin, bars Henry from online advertising or allowing others to use his computer to advertise over the Internet. Henry also was ordered to pay $2,500 to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund to reimburse the state for the cost of the investigation and litigation.