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Harold Camping's Rapture Campaign: Can He Be Sued for Fraud?

As an atheist group asks the California attorney general for action, legal scholars say efforts are almost certainly doomed.
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The end came, albeit two days late, for hundreds of Family Radio billboards across the nation May 23. While the tear-down of the apocalyptic billboards marked a conclusion to Family Radio's public ad campaign, private donors remain frustrated with the organization's use of their funds. The $100 million campaign, which centered on ads that read, "Judgment Day, May 21: the Bible guarantees it," was funded in part by contributions from hundreds of donors. Most of the funds came from the sale of a television station and a radio station, a Family Radio spokesman said. But some donors sacrificed their life's fortunes, even jobs, in anticipation for the "guaranteed" end and are now in dire financial straits; others are simply frustrated and in search of recompense. With millions of dollars in family estates, wills, and personal funds pledged in support of a now defunct prophecy, is there any legal recourse for donors?

If history is any indication, it would be difficult, if not impossible for a ...

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