Back in August, we spoke to Angel Franks, a Clarksville TN woman who sadly lost her mother earlier this year. We’ll let her tell the story Angel writes:
My friend recently set up a gofundme for my mother’s funeral expenses. Long story short, she ended up withdrawing all of the funds to her bank account and I did not receive a dime. I did everything gofundme asked for their joke of a guarantee policy to include filing a police report.
The campaign — started by a Danielle Carrier — is gone, but you can read it below.
Once the campaign got going, Angel says the campaign organizer gave her “the run around” and claimed that funds could not be transferred until the campaign was completed (this is false, a beneficiary can be designated at any point). and told me I couldn’t get the funds until the campaign was over. “When I bothered her continuously about adding me as a beneficiary and that it seemed a little weird she blocked me off everything,” said Angel. “I cannot contact her. After finding out she already withdrew the funds about two weeks into the campaign, I contacted her husband who has also since then blocked me.”
After this ridiculous amount of back and forth with her now-former friend to get the $1465 raised transferred from Danielle, Angel turned to GoFundMe. It was confirmed that Danielle withdrew the full amount raised, and GoFundMe urged Angel to go to the police if she believed wrongdoing had occurred.
Determined to get her rightful funds and to hold her former friend accountable, Angel did in fact reach out to local police and filed a report. She was later told this was a civil matter and they would not pursue charges. We have reached out to law enforcement for more details, and will provide them when available.
To date, GoFundMe has offered refunds to donors who requested them, but did nothing to help Angel bury her mother or recover the funds that were raised on her behalf by a friend who, it seems, took off with that money. The last glimmer of hope Angel had was back in July when GoFundMe said they were “working on it.” See the below exchange between an exasperated Angel and the GoFundMe “Trust and Safety” Team:
At this time, Angel is pursuing civil charges against the campaign organizer.
We will update this story with additional information as it becomes available, as well as conversations between Angel and the campaign organizer. A GoFundMe campaign started by Angel herself for her mother’s funeral expenses is still active, and has raised $370 to date.
Update: This post went live at 11:23am EST on October 19. At 12:42 Pacific time that same day, after WEEKS if not months of radio silence, GoFundMe sent Angel the following email subject line “Urgent Message from Jennifer at GoFundMe”
For the image-challenged, the email reads:
This is Jennifer with the GoFundMe Trust and Safety Team.
I am writing to you after having reviewed a beneficiary claim submitted by you regarding the campaign created by Danielle Carrier on 06/30/2017 titled, “Funeral Expenses for Kim Smallwood.”
The campaign initially raised a total of $1,465. After processing fees, the total amount available for withdrawal was $1,340.60
Funds were withdrawn by Danielle Carrier via the following bank account transfers:
6 Withdrawals sent, totaling $1,340.60:
$45.46 sent on Jul 14 2017 at 12:39 pm PST
$45.75 sent on Jul 13 2017 at 1:04 pm PST
$137.55 sent on Jul 12 2017 at 1:25 pm PST
$40.55 sent on Jul 11 2017 at 12:43 pm PST
$229.65 sent on Jul 10 2017 at 1:07 pm PST
$841.64 sent on Jul 6 2017 at 3:26 pm PST
After reports were made against this campaign there were many donors who requested refunds of their donations in full. These refunds were pulled from the account of the campaign organizer to be sent back to the original donors.
After the requested refunds were issued there was $710 left to be delivered to the ultimate beneficiary before fees by Danielle Carrier.
GoFundMe goes to great lengths to prevent fraud from happening on our platform. But on very rare occasions, it does happen.
We always work hard to ensure that donations are delivered to the intended beneficiary. In this case, the funds weren’t delivered as promised.
After fees, the total amount remaining to be delivered now that refunds have been requested is $648.54.
We want to make sure everyone has a good experience using GoFundMe. Given the unique circumstances of this particular case, GoFundMe will donate $648.54. to your personal bank account. Even though the original funds could not be recovered, this donation from GoFundMe will cover what you are owed by Danielle Carrier.
In order to initiate the transfer of funds, please sign and return the attestation document that is attached to this email. You can scan the signed document and attach it to this email directly.
Finally, I will need you to respond with:
– Confirmation that we may send this donation via ACH transfer to your bank account
NOTE: Please check with your bank to ensure you understand any applicable fees associated with transfers to your account.
2 – The bank name, account number, and routing number for the bank account where the funds should be deposited
3 – The full name listed on the bank account
4 – The mailing address connected to this bank account
5 – Your current phone number
We will continue to work closely with law enforcement and our payment-processor to monitor the accounts associated with fraudulent campaigns and assist with any investigation or criminal prosecution.
Thank you again for working with us to resolve this issue.
GoFundMe Trust and Safety Team
As previously reported, Angel is pursuing all legal options available to her, and this latest communication from GoFundMe does not change that.