I wish I could remember which wise person it was who told me that people busted for crimes probably got away with it 100 times before they actually got caught; perhaps it was my friend, convicted felon, and former CFO of Crazy Eddie Sam Antar, or maybe it was the bodega owner in my old neighborhood in San Francisco who got caught selling cigarettes without legit California tax stamps several times before the city actually pulled his permits. Anyhoo.
I virtually vomited up all that word salad just now to make a point: scamming is rarely just an isolated incident.
Case in point, the lovely individual we’re about to introduce you to.
WABC reports that one Alicia Palozzi of Franklin, New Jersey is accused of setting up a phony GoFundMe campaign to raise funeral funds for 25-year-old Melissa Borras, who died of a drug overdose last year. Palozzi was supposedly an acquaintance of Borras, cue that whole “keep your friends close and your shitty GoFundMe thieving frenemies closer” quote here.
After Borras’ death, her family says Palozzi stepped up (we use “stepped up” in the loosest sense of the phrase, natch) to help with funeral expenses by way of GoFundMe but never actually turned over the money.
“To take advantage of my mom…she’s burying her child and you take money from her?” said Caitlin Borras, scam victim’s daughter, to WABC. Borras said the campaign raised nearly $5000.
We were unable to find a full cache, however we did find a snippet, in which Alicia posted the following update:
I personally want to thank every single person who contributed, shared and have said prayers. The thoughtful messages from each one of you are beautiful.
The family is more than grateful and thanks everyone for everything. This is such a difficult time . So many are suffering emotionally and mentally. Absolutley [sic] heartbroken. Please continue to keep the Borras Family , in your heart and prayers. And please continue to share we have raised a very helpful amount but still in need of donations. I will post service arrangements when I’m notified of them.
Palozzi was arrested today, and Detective Nevis Mattessich of Franklin Borough Police told WABC “It appears Alicia was taking most of the money for herself, as opposed to what she was advertising it for.”
To make matters worse, Borras’ family says Palozzi claimed she paid for the service herself. “She was telling everyone she paid for my sister’s service, and she did not and that’s when I stopped talking to her, that was a slap in the face,” Borras said.
We’ve reached out to Borras to hear more about her sister (RIP) and this [alleged] dickwad Alicia who stole from her, but in the meantime, there’s another angle to share.
Cops say Palozzi was also running a half-assed ticket-selling scheme whereupon she offered too-good-to-be-true Giants and Jets tickets to fans on a budget drawn in by promises of VIP access which were never delivered.
GoFundMe took the opportunity to remind everyone — as they are wont to do — that fraud is totes rare on the platform and said they’d make a $4,105 “donation” to the Borras family in light of this egregious grifting going down on their platform in the deceased’s name.
“Our goal is to protect donors and ensure those that need help get the help they deserve. That’s why GoFundMe is making a donation to the Borras family to ensure they receive all undelivered funds raised on their behalf. We want to honor the donors’ intentions and make sure the Borras family receives the help they deserve,” said a GoFundMe shill spokesperson to WABC.
So thoughtful of them. Anyway, we’ll keep you updated on Palozzi as she makes her way through court.