Is there anything more heart-wrenching than a sick baby in need of medical care? Hmm, maybe a pile of orphaned kittens or a dozen puppies with cancer. Anyhoo, back to the baby.
Laura Leingang of Lynnwood, WA thought nothing of it when a fellow member of a mommy group offered to set up a GoFundMe to help her son Lucas, who was born with a congenital heart defect.
“Us, in the middle of our chaos,” Leingang told news station KIRO7. “I was like ‘OK, that’s fine.’”
Little Lucas had his surgery shortly after the fundraiser was up and Leingang hit up her internet friend and GoFundMe philanthropist Kristal Seli for the money. Guess what happened next?
Absolutely nothing. Leingang said Seli and her partner of 10 years Jennifer Byassee gave excuse after excuse for why they couldn’t hand over the nearly $2000 raised via GFM until Seli finally blocked Leingang on social media.
Finally Leingang contacted GoFundMe.
And their fraud investigators told her:
“Jennifer was listed as the beneficiary for all of the money,” said Leingang.
Indeed, their records show Byassee withdrew the money in three increments in January, nearly $2,000.
“And we have seen zero funds,” she said.
The news station did a little digging and says they found mugshots of both Seli and Byassee, who apparently served time for — wait for it — fraud in other states.
Little Lucas’ family contacted the FBI and has since started a new fundraiser 100% in their control. We have reached out to the family for comment and will update if we’re able to get in touch.