A Mississippi woman who (allegedly) should be banned from the Internet until such time as brains can be artificially grown in a lab has been arrested after the attorney general’s office said she created a phony GoFundMe campaign seeking $1000 for a highway patrol cadet program.
Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of 30-year-old Natasha Lesha Stephens for fraudulently acting as a highway patrolman recruit to raise money online earlier this week.
“I have been blessed with the opportunity to become a part of something much higher than myself. I have been accepted in the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Cadet Class 62 that begins this October,” Stephens wrote on the campaign which has since been removed. “A list of required items has been given. Unfortunately I am unable to financially obtain those items. I am asking for help in order to be able to be apart of this opportunity. The cost is $1,000. Any donations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Help spread the word!”
Stephens is charged with one felony count of wire and mail fraud. She faces up to five years in prison. A charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
“Our office has gotten this fraudulent page shut down,” said General Hood. “Do not give money to this person, and if you already have, contact our office immediately.”
Predictably, GoFundMe was at the ready with their boilerplate about how rare this is and how safe the platform is because of course they were.
“It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get their money back,” said GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne. “In the small handful of cases where misuse occurs, GoFundMe takes action to resolve the issue. In this case, the campaign has been removed from the platform, the user has been banned, and the single donation has been refunded.”