The GoFundMe campaign called DeKoning Family Funeral Expenses started by Pamela Webster back in March is still up, however family of the deceased said they’ve seen only a small percentage of the $1,200 raised; that is until local news reached out to Webster to ask where the rest of it was.
In the campaign’s seemingly sincere plea, Webster writes:
I have been truly blessed to be “adopted” into this very beautiful and loving family which is why I am asking for your help for them.
Dave DeKoning passed away very unexpectedly on 3/11/2016 leaving behind his wife and daughter. He was only 47 years old. Because he was so young, he had not planned yet for his own funeral.
They are not prepared for this, or how to go forward in the wake a such a sudden and tragic loss.
Please, if you can help them in any way to get through this incredibly difficult time and help them give Dave and the entire family some peace it would be greatly appreciated.
Please, please treasure your loved ones, and tell them EVERY DAY how much they mean to you, because life is so short, and we have but a moment before we are taken.
DeKoning, Rogers, Scully, DeWilde Family I am deeply sorry for your loss and my prayers are with you.
As these things have a really funny way of disappearing when they’ve been called out as frauds, we’re going to go ahead and drop an archived copy here.
DeKoning’s widow Sally told Cleveland 19 that once she started asking for money, Webster dodged them after giving her a paltry $150.
Webster began to avoid contact and eventually blocked the family members, according to DeKoning’s daughter Gabrielle.
Sally was puzzled, and said they kept contacting her, wondering if Webster was mad at them and wondering what had happened. With suspicions growing, the family was able to pressure Webster, threatening legal action. She agreed to come to DeKoning’s home with cash.
She arrived with $150, a fraction of what she had collected.
The exchange was captured on an audio recording.
“This is all I have, so,” Webster said on tape.
“OK, well I appreciate that. How much?” someone asks.
“It’s $150 … I’ll try and do what I can … just keep in contact with me,” Webster said.
“OK,” someone says.
That was the last direct contact Webster had with DeKoning’s family.
In her statement to Cleveland 19, Dave’s widow Sally seems less hurt by the fact that Webster seemed to have run off with the money raised and more hurt by the fact that she can’t thank the 18 people who donated.
“She took anonymous money from people we’ll never be able to thank. We don’t have their address, we don’t know who it was. It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
When Cleveland 19 contacted Webster, she then got in touch with the DeKoning family and promised to hand over the remaining money owed to them, however also noted that “if they sent anyone else after her she would view the money as compensation for her aggravation.”
The next day, a certified check appeared at the front door of the DeKoning home.
We’ll be adding this one to the GoFundMe fraud tracker as an “almost fraud,” as it could have turned out that way had Webster continued to dodge the family. Thankfully, they went to the news and put her on blast.
Take note, children. If someone offers to put up a ‘funeral fundraiser’ for someone in your family who has died, tell them no. Actually, hell no. If you insist on turning to GoFundMe for funeral expenses, do so personally so you can be sure the money gets into the right hands when it’s needed most.
If you believe you have been a victim of GoFundMe fraud, contact your local news (most have an “on your side” desk that can investigate these kinds of things) or fill out our report GoFundMe fraud form and we’ll dig into it.