Franklin Woman Faces Felony Theft Charges Over GoFundMe Campaign

| March 14, 2018

HandcuffsIRWIN TWP., Pa. (EYT) – A Franklin woman is facing felony theft charges after allegedly keeping money raised through a GoFundMe campaign for the victims of a recent fire.

Court documents indicate the Franklin-based State Police filed criminal charges against 23-year-old Tori Rae Smith, of Franklin.

According to a criminal complaint, around 4:50 p.m. on March 6, Trooper Shiley was dispatched to a location in Irwin Township in reference to a theft.

Trooper Shiley made contact with a known woman who told him that her family had suffered a fire in early February that claimed their home and belongings. She stated that Tori Rae Smith created a GoFundMe page using her as the beneficiary. She stated that she did not ask for the campaign to be set up and was not aware of the campaign until after it was created. After the campaign had stopped receiving donations, she sent a Facebook message to Smith around 10:59 a.m. on February 15 asking how much had been raised and when they could expect the money. Smith replied that after fees, the campaign raised approximately $2,600.00 and that a check would be mailed directly to the known woman.

During the subsequent investigation, Trooper Shiley served search warrants to GoFundMe, WePay, and Metabank. The results of the search warrants show that Smith did create the GoFundMe account, received the funds through WePay, and deposited them into an account belonging to herself.

The total amount allegedly stolen was $2,673.74, according to the complaint.

Based on the investigation, the following charges were filed on Monday, March 12, in Magisterial District Judge Andrew F. Fish’s office:

– Theft By Unlawful Taking-Immovable Property, Felony 2
– Theft By Deception-False Impression, Felony 2
– Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Funds, Felony 2
– Identity Theft, Felony 3

Smith is free on $25,000.00 unsecured bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, with Judge Fish presiding.


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Category: Local News, News, Police & Fire Calls