[UPDATED 11/13, with statement from GoFundMe]
A Georgia man is accused of creating a fraudulent GoFundMe account to accept money on behalf of Pike County High School (Ga.) football player Dylan Thomas, who died after collapsing on the field in September.
Justus Hughley, 22, of Upson County, Ga., was arrested and charged with computer theft for allegedly trying to steal monetary donations from people who believed they were sending money to the grieving Thomas family, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
A 17-year-old linebacker, Thomas died Sept. 30 of cardiac arrest from a traumatic brain injury he suffered during a game against Peach County (Fort Valley, Ga.) two days earlier.
According to the police department’s post, Hughley allegedly used a bank account in Iowa to attempt to transfer the money from the GoFundMe to his personal account.
The post said that the transaction was reported as fraudulent and no money was received by Hughley. Computer IP addresses and banking information provided by the suspect to GoFundMe and a bank were used to locate the suspect in Upson County.
He remains in the Pike County Jail without bond, police said in the post.
GoFundMe released this statement to USA TODAY High School Sports:
“It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get refunded. Campaigns with misuse are very rare, making up less than one tenth of one percent of all GoFundMe campaigns.
In this case, the campaign received one donation, and the donor has been fully refunded. GoFundMe has banned the campaign organizer and we are cooperating with Law Enforcement.”