Back in late 2014, Donald and Michelle Paskett of Monrovia were charged with five counts of theft and one count of corrupt business influence after authorities accused them of blowing money from a GoFundMe campaign set up for a man named Delbert Galloway. Now, Mr Paskett has been sentenced in the GoFundMe theft case.
We were unable to find a cached copy of the fundraiser, only this single Facebook post referencing a page set up for Galloway.
Galloway died in a motorcycle accident in October of that year; the Pasketts set up a ‘memorial’ campaign meant to cover funeral costs as well as any needs for Galloway’s 17-year-old daughter Taylor. Instead, say prosecutors, the Pasketts used the thousands of dollars raised for personal bills, pizza, diapers, and car washes.
Donald Paskett accepted a plea deal this week, which led to one felony theft count for him and dropped charges for his wife Michelle. He is ordered to pay $3754 in restitution to Galloway’s daughter Taylor within 6 months, and will serve four months of house arrest as well as 18 months of probation. Should he successfully complete the terms of his probation, his felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
We have been vocal critics of ‘GoFundMe as the new obituary‘ and as such, have taken a lot of flak for our pessimistic view of funeral and memorial fundraisers set up by others, even in cases of legitimate campaigns. As it stands, it’s simply too easy for campaign organizers to run off with funds raised, and cases like this prove it.
We humbly suggest to GoFundMe that any funeral funds can only be released to the person whose name appears on the death certificate. That would eliminate a large chunk of these fraudulent GoFundMe and run cases, at least in the case of memorial campaigns.