Back in June, the Nebraska State Police accused former Hastings police detective Jerry Esch of using GoFundMe to pay off his credit card debts under the guise of needing help with medical expenses related to his cancer diagnosis. You read that correctly: Esch did have cancer. However, according to investigators, he did not have expensive out-of-network costs as he claimed in his GoFundMe campaign.
That campaign raised over $21,000 of a $27k goal. Coincidentally, when they started digging, investigators discovered Esch was carrying $27k in credit card debt mostly unrelated to his medical bills.
According to the affidavit in this case, Esch “acknowledged that he requested funds for medical expenses because he knew he was more likely to get donations than if he had truthfully stated his credit card debt and other debt were due to poor financial decisions.”
The 46-year-old has been charged with Class 2A felony theft by deception involving more than $5,000 for the disingenuous GoFundMe campaign.
Just this morning, Esch pleaded not guilty to the charge in Adams County District Court. He’s due back in court on December 15.