In December, horse trainer Ron David suffered a heart attack, which then led to a quadruple bypass surgery. His daughter Tonya Gordon offered to set up a GoFundMe campaign to help him with expenses, which David said he would have never done himself but welcomed the help anyway.
Now, Tulsa police are accusing the 28-year-old woman of stealing every dime raised on David’s behalf. She is charged with felony ‘false pretense or running a con game.’ This is the first GoFundMe fraud case for the Tulsa police.
Gordon reportedly withdrew all of the money from the account before David was even out of a coma. By the time police investigated, the money was gone and GoFundMe verified the funds were released to the campaign organizer.
Documents provided by GoFundMe to David show Gordon withdrew the following amounts from the campaign:
- $1194.30 on December 30
- $367.20 on January 2
- $229.95 on January 5
In a statement to the station, GoFundMe spokesperson Bobby Whithorne repeated the same statement he makes every time there is a GoFundMe fraud case in the news (“extremely rare… less than one tenth of one percent… blah blah”), however said “we’ll ensure Mr. David receives the money raised on his behalf.”
Interestingly enough, comments on the Fox23 Facebook page tell a different story. While the station identifies her as “someone close to him,” commenters point out Tonya is Ron’s daughter (as stated in her GoFundMe campaign for him) and accuse him of dragging her name through the mud because he was angry over not receiving the money right away.
They claim that Gordon attempted to contact GoFundMe to refund donors however, in a follow-up comment Fox23 clarifies that “The Tulsa Police detective who investigated this case spoke with GoFundMe and said the company told him there would be no refunds out of the campaign for donors because the money was withdrawn weeks before he called.” The campaign was started December 26, and as stated above the first withdrawal was made by Tonya on December 30 in the amount of $1194.30. Even if she had requested refunds be made to donors, there was nothing in the campaign to refund.
You know what would have prevented this entire situation? Making Ron David beneficiary of the campaign, thereby preventing Gordon from accessing the money raised at all. Boom.