Woman allegedly stole $38K in GoFundMe donations meant for murdered co-worker’s daughter
A woman has been accused of stealing $38,000 that was meant for a little girl who witnessed her mother get shot to death.
The 11-year-old heard the gunshots, heard her mother Stephanie Goodloe scream and then saw her mom’s ex-boyfriend, who has since been charged with the murder, run past her bedroom door.
The shooting took place in June 2016 and after the tragedy, a co-worker of Goodloe started a GoFundMe page to raise money to take care of the 11-year-old.
The fundraising drive was a success and brought in over $38, 000, the only problem? Very little of the money donated went to the little girl or her guardian. Instead, the co-worker “kept the majority of the funds raised for herself,” according to the arrest affidavit.
Arlene Petty, of Capitol Heights, Maryland has been arrested and charged with one count of first-degree fraud. She has since been released from jail and her next hearing will be in D.C. Superior Court on Jan. 22.
This is just one more trauma for the family who is still dealing with their grief over losing Goodloe who worked at a school as well as a big-box retailer. She was also the youth ministry director at her church.
Her ex-boyfriend, Donald Hairston, 49 is set to go on trial for first-degree murder in April. Just two weeks before her death, Goodloe had been granted a temporary restraining order against Hairston.
“We plan on following this case really closely,” said Goodloe’s cousin, Kim Smith, about the fraud charge. “Along with the murder trial, this is yet another case that the family has to follow so we know that justice has been served.”
She said she had thought it was odd when Petty set up the GoFundMe page but when she told other family members her concern they said it would be fine. The account was originally created on June 20, 2016, two days after the murder and it was a joint account that involved Petty and the little girl’s grandmother.
On March 29 a relative filed a complaint with police over the fundraising site because the grandmother had been “locked out” of the account. GoFundMe had temporarily suspended the campaign as well. It turned out that Petty transferred $35,054 out of the account and into her personal bank account.
Out of all the money raised only $9000 ever made it into the hands of the victim’s family.
Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, has said that the company will be working with police and the courts to “ensure all of the money raised goes to the family.” He added that if the courts are unable to recoup the money, “GoFundMe will make a donation to the family.”