Most of us will never get stabbed in our lifetimes (phew!) but we can all imagine how horrific the experience is.
Vickie Penewit knows what it feels she like. She was stabbed 14 times and her two sons were killed last summer by a man who was attempting to rob the home at which she was hanging out.
The knife-wielding maniac is now in prison, but Penewit is being victimized all over again by a GoFundMe page in her name that raised $6,391. She says she never saw a dime of the money, despite racking up nearly $100,000 in medical bills.
A year later, Penewit is still entangled in the world of law enforcement as she seeks criminal charges for those she says wrongly took the GoFundMe money.
Penewit and her sister, Jennifer Vogel, 47, of Gaylord claim another northern Michigan woman, Sharon Hush, took the money for herself and a few other relatives after a falling out.
Hush acted as spokeswoman for the family, giving media updates from Penewit’s bedside while Penewit recovered at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital near Ann Arbor. Hush also set up the GoFundMe after a Detroit-area news reporter suggested it, Vogel said.
The family was supportive at the time, though they did not know Hush well, Vogel said. Penewit was under sedation or on a ventilator and unable to speak for her first month after the attack.
Hush declined to speak at length on the matter, but called Penewit a “vindictive liar” and indicated that the money was used as intended.
“The money was raised to help her family stay by her bedside, which is where it went,” she said. She declined additional comment.
A screenshot of the GoFundMe page provided by Penewit does not specify exactly who in the family was supposed to receive the funds.
“Any and all help to take the (monetary) burden off the family will be greatly appreciated,” the page read.
Prosecutors say that language is precisely why they won’t be pressing charges in this matter.
“I’m not sure this is a criminal act the way the GoFundMe was written,” Cheboygan County Prosecutor Daryl Vizina said. “To show fraud or embezzlement … it has to deal with the intent. There is some lack of clarity on what it encompasses and what it doesn’t encompass.”
Pay attention to the above, scammers. What he’s saying is that you can totally get away with this crap as long as you’re super vague and sketchy with the details.
The GoFundMe page has been removed and we were unable to find a cached copy.