Sunday, August 31, 2014

SCAM? "Support Officer Wilson" GoFundMe Account mysteriously placed on Hold

On the crowdsourced fundraising site GoFundMe, "Support Officer Darren Wilson" and "Support Officer Wilson" -- two separate pages with similar names -- have raised $235,750 and $197,620, respectively, for the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

Both pages appear to have stopped taking donations around the same time on Saturday, and the pages' organizers did not explain why. If a visitor attempts to donate, a message appears that says: "Donations are Complete! The organizer has stopped donations."
In a statement provided to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, a spokeswoman for GoFundMe said the website had not halted the donations.
"Each and every GoFundMe campaign organizer is able to decide for themselves when they would like to stop accepting donations," said the statement from GoFundMe spokeswoman Kelsea Little. "Organizers may also choose to begin accepting donations again at a later date."
The page "Support Officer Wilson," which raised $197,620, is run by a St. Louis police charity called "Shield of Hope," which has been certified by GoFundMe as a valid donation recipient.
The three officers listed on Shield of Hope's state nonprofit records, Joseph Eagan, Timothy Zoll and Jeffrey Roorda, did not immediately respond to emails Sunday seeking more information about the fundraising efforts. Zoll is a public information officer for the Ferguson Police Department, Eagan is a city council member for nearby Florissant, and Roorda a member of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Nor was The Times able to immediately reach the anonymous founder of the "Support Officer Darren Wilson" page, a user called "Stand Up," who has raised $235,750 and who has not been officially certified as a verified recipient on the donation page. GoFundMe's spokeswoman vouched for the anonymous donor in a statement to The Times, however.
In contrast to the other Wilson page and the donation page for Brown, little information has been given to donors about who is running the anonymous fundraising effort.

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