GoFundMe Fraud

Authorities: Pennsylvania Teen Fabricated Pipe Attack, Charged for Fake GoFundMe Campaign

Preston Gorecki

Almost exactly a year ago, local media in Pennsylvania reported that then 15-year-old Preston Gorecki was recovering from an attack by a “pipe-like object” at a bus stop, and eagerly shared a GoFundMe campaign set up by his family to benefit the teen.

“He is still having muscle spasms and is unable to walk on his own (lack of equilibrium). However, he continues to draw to pass the time, though his hand shakes as he does it. I want to thank you all for your compassion and generosity,” says the update.

Preston’s family says he has broken vertebrae, a concussion and “horribly painful spasms that are going up and down his neck and back.”

The GoFundMe page was started to help Preston, who is an artist, continue to raise money for a trip he is planning to Los Angeles in spring to visit Disney, Pixar and Jim Henson Studios.

Police called it “a deliberate act and not an accident” at the time. As it turns out, it was all a lie. “In the end, the thorough investigation showed that in fact the whole story was made up,” said the district attorney last week.

The GoFundMe page has since been taken down (sorry, we were unable to find a cached copy), and the boy has been charged in juvenile court with making a false report to law enforcement authorities and theft by deception, according to WGAL.

The boy has been ordered to pay restitution, and to serve 75 hours of community service. His parents maintain that his injuries were legit and their son is innocent.

PennLive covered the supposed attack extensively in the days that followed, so what’s our lesson here, children? Just because something is in the news doesn’t mean it actually happened. How were reporters to know his story was BS? I mean, who questions a teenager claiming he got whacked with a pipe?