If you ever go online, you’ve probably seen the site GoFundMe. When used correctly, it’s a way for people to seek and collect donations. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of the platform to commit fraud.
Take for example this case where a 40-year-old individual has been charged with fraud and money laundering in a $400 GoFundMe scam. It’s claimed that the man scammed donors out of over $400,000 by making up a story about a homeless veteran. He has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
The prosecution claims that the man, his girlfriend at the time and a homeless veteran made up a story about the veteran giving $20 to the girlfriend. This feel-good story was then used to solicit money on GoFundMe. The money was supposed to go to help the homeless veteran.
Together, the three did television interviews, newspaper interviews and more. Later, the veteran sued, claiming that the couple didn’t give him the money. Interestingly, the Burlington County prosecutor went on to say that almost none of the story was true and pursued charges. Both the veteran and the girlfriend have pleaded guilty. The homeless veteran was sentenced to five years’ probation.
It’s believed that the woman’s boyfriend was the ringleader in this instance, but she and he spent a large amount of the money on personal items such as a BMW, RV, and trips to casinos.
This story is one that shows the negatives of seeking money online through donations. If you aren’t really careful how you spend the proceeds, you could end up facing wired fraud charges (and other criminal complaints.) If you’re accused of fraud for doing so, it’s smart to speak with an attorney.