Now that the DA’s office has decided that I am officially not a criminal, I wanted to say a few things about GoFundMe. I wanted to stop the suicides from occurring on a bridge in my city - The San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge. Caltrans wouldn’t pay for it, so, I went to the public for help.
Having never started a non-profit or raised money for anything except my Brownie troops Girl Scout cookie campaign, I started the process of creating a 501c3 not for profit corp. But the corporate paperwork was not finalized yet at the time I requested disbursement, resulting in having no corporate bank account for the money to go into. So, they sent it to my personal checking account. I explained this in detail to GoFundMe. They could have easily pointed out that its a FELONY to co-mingle public donations with a private income. That if ANY of that money gets used for anything other than its intended purpose it is a crime punishable by prison time and a hefty fine.
I was arrested on a Tuesday, by surprise, when I agreed to come into the police station to answer yet another round of questions I’d already answered many times before, the previous month. As soon as I walked in, they handcuffed me and put me in a holding cell…I was alone. No one knew I was there. That’s when the tears began…and they didn’t stop for the next 8 hours that day. I was traumatized to put it mildly. Before that memorable Tuesday, I had never even gotten a J walking ticket. Didn’t matter. I was taken to the regional women’s detention center in the back of a cop car, handcuffed, and held for two felonies that I knew I did not intentionally commit. Ironically – the money was there the entire time, just not in the same account.
As soon as my name went on the front page of the local newspaper, the news media began calling my cell phone for comment. I am really glad to be able to say that the study is currently underway, and has the full support of the California State Senate, no thanks to GoFundMe. Anytime you’d like to help me out with the $10k in legal fees, GoFundMe, just hit me up and I’ll give you my routing number. I really hope my story helps future dogooders avoid the slammer.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
9 people found it helpfulLink to this Review
We’re truly sorry for the way things transpired for you, Rhonda. We work hard to keep GoFundMe the safest place to give, and always seek to best guide our customers, so we’d like to clear up what happened here.
As noted on our site here, we can help campaign organizers safely run campaigns on behalf of legitimate non-profits, and set up withdrawals directly in the organization’s information: https://support.gofundme.com/hc/articles/204532398-Raising-Funds-for-an-Organization. Since your organization’s non-profit status was not yet finalized at the time, this method would not have applied to you.
In the event that you personally withdraw funds, it is your responsibility to ensure that funds are appropriately routed to the ultimate recipient, and used for the purpose stated on the campaign. Failure to do so is considered fraud, as noted on our site here: https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/203604694-Reporting-a-GoFundMe. By signing up for GoFundMe, you agree to our terms, outlining these details for managing your campaign.
We apologize if those details were not fully reviewed, and appreciate your understanding as GoFundMe will cooperate with law enforcement and provide them with any information needed, should a resulting investigation occur.