When we talk about GoFundMe fraud, we generally mean either disingenuous campaigns that are put up for the sole purpose of scamming (lying about a disease, stealing photos, etc), or campaigns which did not necessarily start with malicious intent but were robbed blind by campaign organizers (think: funeral funds not turned over to the family by the campaign organizer). But there’s a third kind of fraud that doesn’t get covered as much around here, mostly because it’s so difficult to pin down and, in most cases, never revealed as fraudulent. Well, not today.
Meet Larisa Rivera. Larisa and her friend Victoria were in a nasty accident in the early morning hours of January 8th. Larisa, who was driving her friend’s Toyota Corolla, flipped the vehicle and landed it in a ditch before the car caught fire. An 85-year-old man who heard the commotion outside his house rescued the girls from the burning vehicle.
After the incident, colleagues put up a GoFundMe campaign to help her as she was out of work after the “accident” and needed some help. Admirable:
Make a difference in Larisa’s life!
At FUN TOWN RV, we love to be a positive element in the communitty. We certainly love our co-worker, Larisa Rivera, and we are inviting you to join with us to help her during a difficult time.
Around January 8th, Larisa was involved in a very serious car accident. Her car burned and, fourtunately for Larisa, she and her co-passenger were saved by an 85-year old gentelman who pulled them from the buring car. Here’s a news report on Larisa’s accident:
Larisa has been out of work since this time and her medical expenses are increasing weekly. We want to help! You can too!!
Please donate to this fund to help Larisa with her daily expenses, medical bills, and transportation needs. We are all regular people with little to our name, but we want to help our friend, Larisa, who has lost so much. Would you please take a little time to help a sweet young lady in her recovery and insurmountable expenses? All of us, giviing a little, can turn into a huge blessing for Larisa.
What that kind GoFundMe campaign doesn’t tell you is something we’ve learned this week now that Larisa has been arrested: she had a blood alcohol level of .144 at the time of the accident. She and Victoria had gone to the bar earlier that night, and then hung out at a friend’s house drinking some more before they packed into the Corolla. The officer on scene of the accident “noted that Rivera’s demeanor was lethargic and altered as they spoke.” That officer also noticed a strong smell of alcohol on her when she was later interviewed from her hospital bed directly after the incident.
As a result of the accident, she needed 18 inches of intestine removed, and stayed in the hospital for four days. Her friend also had severe injuries, which is why Larisa has now been charged with intoxication assault. A judge set her bond at $150,000 and required that an interlock device be installed in her car.
Now, according to the GoFundMe campaign Larisa would be out of work as a result of the “accident,” and that part is true. What the campaign doesn’t tell you is that Larisa was injured — and injured her friend — as a direct result of poor decision making. Donors gave $2330 as of press time, how many do you think would have given had they known she was driving at nearly twice the legal BAC limit in the state of Texas?
All this to say: did she need help after the accident? Sure. Is there anything wrong with putting up a GoFundMe campaign for that purpose? Nah. But donors deserve to know the full story.