A heartless New Jersey woman tried to dupe donors out of $5,000 in an online fundraiser for her 4-year-old son, who she claimed died of cancer – even though the boy had actually been adopted by another couple, prosecutors said.
Holly Garcia, 33, of Little Egg Harbor Township, was arrested on Sept. 24 on charges of computer criminal activity and attempted theft by deception after a Pemberton Township couple who recently adopted her son told police his photo was being used in a GoFundMe campaign seeking $5,000 for his funeral, prosecutors said Thursday.
But Garcia had already signed away her parental rights to the boy prior to creating the bogus fundraiser that was spotted in June, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said.
A subsequent investigation revealed Garcia had created a slew of fictitious fundraising campaigns on the website, requesting a total of $11,350 in donations for various causes, Coffina said.
Those efforts by Garcia sought donations for an urn for her dead son’s ashes, assistance for an unborn child and a 4-year-old son who was losing eyesight in one eye, a stroller for her 2-month-old son, as well as and money to pay rent while homeless and four months pregnant, Coffina said.
The fake campaigns didn’t gain any traction, however, as they were ended by GoFundMe after Pemberton Township police told the company they were illegitimate, authorities said.
Garcia received no contributions from the fundraisers prior to their removal, Coffina said.
Garcia was released from custody last week after her initial court appearance. The case now heads to a grand jury for possible indictment, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
Garcia could not be reached for comment Thursday and court records did not list an attorney for her, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
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