Ed. note: the featured image for this post is of Luke’s official GoFundMe page, not the scammy scam scam one.
Late last year, we first learned of a shady GoFundMe page set up to allegedly benefit Luke Blanock, a Pennsylvania teen whose days on earth are numbered. At the time, we even got a nice little shout-out in the Washington Post, which we were grateful for.
What we weren’t grateful for was the attitude of GoFundMe, whose media director told WaPo “[GoFundMe] is aware of the situation and is working to ensure that all the funds get to intended recipient.”
In fact, it took action on the part of local police to track down the mysterious “Eric P.” and get to the bottom of this scam. Now, the fraud has come to an anticlimactic conclusion in court.
A woman was charged with theft after creating a fake GoFundMe page for a terminally ill Canonsburg’s teenager.
After Luke Blanock announced that his cancer had become terminal, a GoFundMe account circulated on social media.
The community donated to the account created by “Eric P.” Until people realized Luke’s last name was spelled incorrectly and the hashtag “Luke Strong” had been replaced with “Stay Strong Luke.”
Cecil Township police served three warrants to GoFundMe to track the real identity of “Eric P.”
As it turns out, Eric P. of Cleveland was really Brittani McDonald of Cecil Township, the same town as Blanock. McDonald accepted a plea deal in court last week and will do 18 months of probation and 50 hours of community service.
As is expected from GoFundMe, their spokesperson took this opportunity to pretend as though fraud is “an extremely rare occurrence” on their platform. Uh huh. So extremely rare that there’s this website called GoFraudMe writing nearly every single day about fraud and fraud-ish activity of GoFundMe — go figure!
“It’s important to remember that less than one tenth of one percent of campaigns are fraudulent. While fraud is an extremely rare occurrence on our platform, there are the unfortunate cases where people create campaigns with the intention of taking advantage of others’ generosity. In this case, this campaign was quickly flagged as fraudulent and all of the donations were returned to the donors,” a spokesperson told WPXI.
Luke’s official GoFundMe page, which has raised a little over $10,000, can be found here.