A Phoenix family reached out to the news this week to express their outrage over a GoFundMe page raising funeral expenses for a murder victim; as of this morning, that page has now been removed.
More than two months after a 24-year-old man was shot and killed in south Phoenix, an online fundraising campaign continues to collect money for his funeral expenses. But family members say the funeral has already been paid for, and the online campaign was launched without their knowledge.
“It’s a scam. They’re scamming people out of the money and they are using the money for them. Not for Marcello,” said the victim’s mother, Dorothy Porter.
We tracked down a cache of the page, a copy of which can be found here.
A second GoFundMe page is still active, and raised $40 of a $10,000 goal. “Marcello did not have any life insurance so we are asking everyone to help us send our brother home with a proper burial,” writes Bee Símona Stallings.
However, family told KPHO/KTVK that “funeral expenses were covered entirely by Stallings’ life insurance policy.”
The first page was started by a Josh Terrance, who served as pallbearer at Stallings’ funeral. He claims that much of the $1,030 raised went to Stallings’ pregnant girlfriend.
However, he told local reporters that he sees where the confusion may lie:
“No, I understand. That’s the way we had to put it in there to get everybody to contribute and things like that. Yea but a lot of things went towards the son,” he said.
Still, family members are skeptical.
“You didn’t contribute one dime to help bury him or the expenses thereafter, and you’re still today as of June 7th collecting money in his name? That’s not going to happen. That’s got to stop,” said [the victim’s adopted sister Sharon] Harden.