GoFundMe charity frauds expose humanity’s darkest, most fucked up con-people
Friends faking cancer, mothers faking children's deaths and more
Kirstin Eagle, of Loveland, Colorado had a bad case of bone cancer.
When she was diagnosed in 2009 she was given just 4-6 months to live and told that, because of the advanced stage of her disease, traditional treatments would not work. She had to focus instead, on diet and exercise.
To try and help Eagle keep up with her medical bills, her “friends and family” started a GoFundMe page:
“She bounces in and out of remission which is very traumatic on her body. At times full of energy, other times she finds it hard to get out of bed,” the GoFundMe description reads. “While it’s an accomplishment to be surviving “with” her cancer, there can’t be a day that goes by where it’s not on her mind despite putting a smile on her face and pretending life is great.”
That fundraising page generated some $20,000.
Which would have been an enormous help, had Eagle actually had bone cancer. However, she didn’t. She never had. In fact, that GoFundMe page was started by Eagle, for Eagle, and not only did she scam her friends and family, milking her community’s generosity and good-will for her own gain, but she also used the scam to gain access to people’s bank accounts, which she drained of an additional $100,000.
Luckily, this bad bitch got busted and is now serving time in Larimer County jail. She’s been charged with theft, felony theft, felony charitable fraud, unauthorized use of financial transaction device and felony forgery charges; her bail set at $10,000. And it seems unlikely that any of her old “friends” will be forking that up to bail her out.
This kind of scam, as ugly as it sounds, is not unheard of. It’s actually becoming pretty common on the internet, and in fact, Eagle’s story isn’t even the worst, or most ethically disturbing one out there:
How about the New Jersey man, Reid Herjo, who beat the living hell out of his German shepherd puppy, Atlas, so he could profit off a GoFundMe page to pay for the vet bills. Herjo had the dog for less than three months before the GoFundMe popped up online, claiming that his pupper had been hit by an ATV. It raised $14,000.
Atlas died shortly afterwards from the bludgeoning. But Herjo, he’s still alive and kicking.
Or (also in Jersey) there was the couple that started a GoFundMe for a homeless vet they’d met on the streets. Katelyn McClure and Mark Damico launched the online fundraiser for Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless veteran who (allegedly) gave his last $20 to McClure when she ran out of gas in Philadelphia. Boosted by holiday cheer, the campaign quickly raised $400,000 in donations…
Too bad the whole thing was faked. Bobbitt never gave McClure gas money. In fact, the couple simply found a homeless man who looked the part, took some pictures with him, started their campaign and stepped back as the cash started flowing in. All three (including Bobbitt) face up to 10 years behind bars for the deception.
Then, there’s the Nevada mother, Victoria Morrison, who “killed off” her own child just to make a quick buck.
“About a year ago my son Blake fell ill … after 12 tubes of blood and two separate bone marrow test we found out its leukemia,” the post reads. “Blake made a list of things he wants to do before he gets to sick, now it’s my job to help him do just that.”
His “condition” worsened after the campaign began. And in what seemed like no time, little Blake had given in to his illness and passed away…
Of course, it was all bullshit. Her son was fine (aside from having a morally bent mother) and her lies cost the community around $2,000. When her bluff was finally called, she was charged with “child neglect or endangerment causing substantial mental harm,” and sentenced to 12.5 years in prison.
It’s the largest prison sentence to date, for a GoFundMe fraud.
Instances like these are a dime a dozen. There are cases of people having started GoFundMe’s for Facebook friends that have died, to “raise money for their friend’s funeral” and then disappeared with the cash. There are mothers who have pretended their kids were beaten up by bullies; wives who murdered their husbands and then started GoFundMe’s for the funeral; people who have stolen funds raised for senior citizens; people faking every medical condition you can think of, lying through their teeth to squeeze anyone charitable enough to click that “Donate” button…
Some of these fake campaigns, Like Eagle’s bone cancer GoFundMe, were always fake; they started with a lie and perpetuated it to profit. Others, like the NJ couple and their homeless Vet, seem to have started as a genuinely real charity, which they then pilfered once they realized how much money it was going to rake in.
Which makes this a particularly strange problem to deal with. Even honest campaigns can spiral into something evil if the wrong person is at the helm.
So, be careful who you donate to. There are some real scam artists out there and they’re more than willing to capitalize off your sympathy and generosity.
Those bastards can GoFundThemselves.