What is considered GoFundMe fraud?

What is considered GoFundMe fraud?

GoFundMe is an increasingly popular online fundraising platform. It can be used as a successful and legitimate way to raise money for those in need and charitable causes.

Unfortunately, some people are accused of taking advantage of other people’s generosity on GoFundMe when things do not go as planned. This can lead to criminal fraud charges.

What is fraud?

Fraud takes place when someone intentionally deceives someone else by promising to give them something of benefit that never happens. This is because either:

  • The promised goods or money do not exist
  • The alleged fraudster has no intention of providing what was promised, or
  • The alleged fraudster made a misrepresentation about the circumstances surrounding the promise

Fraud is a white-collar crime.

An example of GoFundMe fraud

In one example of GoFundMe fraud, a couple used GoFundMe to raise money for a homeless veteran. The couple’s efforts garnered $400,000 in donations.

However, the veteran alleged he never received all the money raised for him. The couple claimed they kept some of the money because the veteran was struggling with substance abuse, and they did not want him spending the funds irresponsibly.

The couple was subjected to a police raid due to the incident.

This serves as a good example of how GoFundMe fraud can occur when funds are legitimately raised, but then not used for the purpose they were raised for or are kept by those who raised them.

GoFundMe and obtaining money under false pretenses

Another GoFundMe fraud crime is obtaining money under false pretenses. In this crime, the alleged fraudster lies about a fact pertinent to the fundraising campaign, intending to defraud those who contribute to the campaign.

In one example, a woman started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her son. She claimed her son had a terminal illness and the funds would be used to fulfill her son’s bucket list.

However, her son reportedly was not sick. The woman allegedly executed the scheme intending to defraud donors so she could keep the funds for herself. This is an example of obtaining money under false pretenses.

A broken promise or misrepresentation can be a crime

While most people using GoFundMe do so for lawful purposes and use the funds raised appropriately, some are accused of not following through on their promise. And as this shows, sometimes, a broken promise constitutes a federal crime.