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International alleged fraud investigation stretches from Fargo to Nigeria

By Bradford Arick - Valley News Live - 17-08-08
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): It’s an international online fraud investigation stretching from Fargo to Nigeria. Police are looking at a Facebook account and a GoFundMe page that a man was allegedly using to scam people out of their money. He told investigators he was directed to set up the fraud accounts by his brother.

It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, soliciting donations from strangers online. And chances are, you’ve donated to some campaigns too.

In mid-April in Fargo, police were at an apartment building on 33rd Avenue South serving a search warrant for narcotics. In the middle of that search, court documents say they came across a Facebook account under the name ‘Sheri Hopkins’. The documents say the account showed a picture of a female member of the U.S. military.

The man believed to be operating the account was questioned, telling police he was directed by his brother who lives in Nigeria to get money and iTunes gift cards, and then send them to Africa or other places in the U.S. He admits too that he knew it was fraud, adding that he also operated a GoFundMe account under the description “funeral by Chris McKenzie” where he tried to get people to donate money.

Valley News Live reached out via Facebook Messenger to a man with the same name as the man mentioned in the court documents. He’s not been charged with any crime, but Valley News Live asked him if he was indeed operating the accounts, and if he knew he was scamming people. He said no, and that he’s not even in the United States anymore, he’s in Nigeria.

That country, however, has an extradition treaty with the United States, meaning if official charges are filed, the man allegedly operating these accounts may be coming back stateside.

GoFundMe’s policy is that if you are proven to be a victim of a fraud account, they’ll refund you’re donation up to $1,000. Experts advise you to steer clear of crowdfunding campaigns with little to no description.


Tags: fraud, ‘Sheri Hopkins, Facebook, GoFundMe, funeral by Chris McKenzie, crowdfunding

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