Well here we are; another day, another fake cancer story. Unfortunately, fake cancer and GoFundMe seem to go hand-in-hand, like cookies and ice cream or cats and vomit.
Everyone, meet Alicia Pierini. She was arrested this week by Rhode Island State Police for pretending to have a brain tumor. Her boyfriend set up a GoFundMe campaign for her non-existent medical bills [archived here] that apparently raised $28,000, though the only copy we were able to find of the campaign sat at a little over $10k before GoFundMe completely removed every trace of it from the site. Which means it’s likely donors were requesting refunds like crazy up until it was taken down.
The “absolutely amazing” 35-year-old who “NEVER asks for anything in return” is now facing felony charges of obtaining money under false pretenses, after an investigation by the RI State Police financial crimes unit determined she faked cancer. As often happens in these cases, it was tips from friends and family that led the police to open the investigation and subsequently determine she made the whole thing up based on a lack of any verifiable medical records relating to cancer treatment. Kudos to them for their thorough investigation.
GoFundMe said it will issue refunds to donors. This is the second such fake cancer story this week — meaning GoFundMe is $38,000 in the hole on refunds for fraudulent cancer campaigns this week alone. That we know of. And that’s just fake cancer. Who knows how many are out there that we don’t even hear about. But it’s totes rare, you guys, just ask GoFundMe.
Anyhoo, anyone who got ripped off by this upstanding young lady should contact the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit at 401-444-1201.
This is the second reported Rhode Island GoFundMe fraud case, according to our fraud tracker.