A Georgia man was arrested for creating a fake GoFundMe page using the recent tragic death of a high school football player to solicit funds illegally, authorities said.
Justus Hughley is accused of opening the bogus account on the crowdfunding platform after the death of Dylan Thomas during a Sept. 28 game in Zebulon, Georgia. The 17-year-old boy suffered a traumatic brain injury, Fox News reported last month.
Hughley, 22, of Upson County, Georgia, claimed to be raising money on behalf of the boy’s family, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
“A bank account in Iowa was used by the suspect to attempt to transfer the money from GoFundMe to his personal account,” the sheriff’s office said. “Fortunately the transaction was reported as fraudulent and no money was received by Hughley.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that it’s unclear how much money Hughley had raised before the fake GoFundMe page was shut down.
"It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get refunded," GoFundMe spokesman Bartlett Jackson told Fox News.
He added: "Campaigns with misuse are very rare, making up less than one tenth of one percent of all GoFundMe campaigns. In this case, the campaign received one donation, and the donor has been fully refunded. GoFundMe has banned the campaign organizer and we are cooperating with Law Enforcement."
In this case, the campaign received one donation, and the donor has been fully refunded. GoFundMe has banned the campaign organizer and we are cooperating with Law Enforcement."
Investigators said they linked Hughley to the fraudulent GoFundMe page after a lengthy investigation. They served several subpoenas as part of the probe.
Hughely has been charged with computer theft.
He has been jailed, pending a bond hearing.