GoFundMe scam

Police: Woman Made Fake GoFundMe Pages To Steal Money

A Pennsylvania woman has been arrested for allegedly using GoFundMe to defraud several people. Fox 43 News reports that 31-year-old Nicole Leahy faces charges in association with the allegations against her.

Police say they were contacted by a woman from Florida who claimed to had been victimized by Leahy. The young woman told detectives that Leahy had made at least two pages on the crowdfunding site using the story of her son who had passed. She claims that the Pennsylvania woman had collected at least $500 using her family’s tragic story, but she had never seen a dime of any of those donations.

Sadly, this is far from the only time someone has used GoFundMe (or other crowdfunding sites) to scam others. Last year, a woman admitted that she had faked her 4-year-old daughter’s cancer diagnosis in order to scam money off others — including family members, friends, and strangers. The New York Daily News reports that 32-year-old Jessica Good also used GoFundMe to scam money from people on the internet who had expressed sympathy for the fake cancer diagnosis.

In 2015, a Florida woman was arrested for faking her own cancer diagnosis in order to scam money off people. Crime Feed reports that 36-year-old Kelley Johanneson conned people out of thousands of dollars with her fake breast cancer scam. The Florida woman reportedly used the site GoFundMe to scam as much as $4,400 from complete strangers. However, authorities say that she collected money from other avenues as well, including fundraisers and a campaign on Our Backyard Foundation. Johanneson was so devoted to this scam that she had even removed the hair from her head and eyebrows in order to look like a cancer patient. By the time of her arrest, however, all of that hair had grown back.

In 2014, a Texas woman was also arrested under similar circumstances. KXAN News reports that Fallon Mouton set up an account on GoFundMe to collect donations for the family of a co-worker who had died from complications after childbirth. The campaign raised nearly $5,000, but the family left behind after the woman’s death didn’t get any of that money. Instead, they say, Mouton pocketed the thousands of dollars.

Police arrested the woman for “defrauding donors online” after an investigation found that she had withdrawn the donation money with no intention of giving it to the grieving family in need. Furthermore, the woman also reportedly said that her account was closed before she could withdraw the money and that GoFundMe is actually to blame. However, the popular site claims that the money was withdrawn by “the owner of the account” (being Mouton) before they ever received complaints about a possible scam.

As for Pennsylvania woman Nicole Leahy, police have charged her with theft by deception, which is a second-degree misdemeanor. The $560 that had been donated to the false GoFundMe page has also been given to the family that was reportedly exploited by the Pennsylvania woman. Meanwhile, authorities say that Leahy’s account on the popular donation site has been deactivated.

[Featured Image by Lititz Police Dept.]

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