Alleged GoFundMe Fraud, Fake Cancer

GoFundMe to Refund Victims of Kid with Cancer Scam, IF They Ask

Mila Cheeks Cancer Recovery Fund

The only thing worse than pretending you have cancer for financial gain is pretending your child has cancer for financial gain. Sadly, that’s what Brianna Carnahan and Rodman Chin of Fairbanks, AK are accused of doing.

Brianna’s mother took to Facebook last Friday to set the record straight:

Randi Carnahan Facebook

State Troopers were alerted of something fishy with the scampaign in March, and the investigation is ongoing. In the meantime, GoFundMe told The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that refunds are forthcoming to donors — IF they ask for them:

A spokesman for the website GoFundMe said Tuesday that the company will refund donors who contributed to a Fairbanks fund drive for a sick child and that is now suspected to be fraudulent.

The Mila Cheeks Cancer Recovery Fund drew $6,110 from 80 donors.

GoFundMe removed the fund drive from its website and is cooperating with an investigation by Alaska State Troopers, company spokesman Bobby Whithorne said.

This bit was of particular interest:

“There are unfortunate instances where people try to take advantage of others’ generosity,” Whithorne said in a prepared statement. “In the rare cases where fraud occurs, GoFundMe takes swift action to resolve the issue.”

Donors can request a refund by going to, clicking on the “Help” link at the top of the page and then clicking on the “Contact us” link.

“We’ll be sure to process it,” Whithorne said in an interview. “Any donor that requests a refund, we’ll refund it.” [emphasis mine]

What about the donors who don’t request a refund? What happens to the money they donated to the campaign? Inquiring minds would really like to know. Simply making the fundraiser disappear from the internet and generously offering to refund those who request a refund isn’t enough, GoFundMe. Come on now.

We’re guessing if GoFundMe was on the hook for every donation made to fraudulent campaigns, they might take fraud on their platform just a smidge more seriously.


  1. Matthew Ricketts

    Not that it makes it any less problematic, but Gofundme is refunding the money out of its own “pocket”, not the actual funds that were stolen using it’s platform. It seems over the top to call them out for some misdeed, when they are going above and beyond. I am sure those that are affected by this are following along and will receive a refund. But if not, ultimately Gofundme is just a platform to share money, and does not keep it or have any responsibility to vet all the campaigns that are hosted on its platform. I am hopeful that only a tiny amount of the campaigns on its site are malicious in any way. It would be nearly impossible to vet all the campaigns to try to catch a minuscule amount of corrupt people.

    Hopefully Gofundme can recover funds from this awful person, but ultimately I think they are doing a very generous thing by refunding these funds.

  2. Anonymous

    So glad I’m done with this abusive, money stealing creep! I still have nightmares about him.

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