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Charity SCAM?

(34 Posts)
DeeConnors Sat 03-Jan-15 17:38:26

There has been a story in the news about a couple (Lee Johnston & Katie) holidaying in New York and going into premature birth, and facing a £130,000 hospital bill. There is a charity page set up to get donations to help with their medical bills.
Now it is revealed that the couple's travel/medical insurance is paying for the full medical treatment and emergency incidentals such as accomodation, food, emergency clothing, etc.
It also transpires the couple flew out First Class, are staying at the 5-star Hilton Hotel, and were planning a shopping spreee for designer clothes on 5th Avenue, but are now claiming they are broke with no money for clean underwear or food.
On Lee's facebook page, he also has a collection of expensive motorcycles & flash cars with personalised number plates, yet is claiming he needs money to pay his rent.

I was just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this fraudulent use of charity?

DeeConnors Sat 03-Jan-15 17:40:17

On the facebook page, anyone asking questions about where the money is going is being deleted & banned, leaving only 'happy supportive' posts remaining.

bryonyelf Sat 03-Jan-15 17:49:52

Something doesn't sit right with me at all regarding this story. Some have questioned it but I genuinely can't see anyone wishing a child to be born 11 weeks early just to gain cash. I am just not sure why it doesn't sit right....Maybe the Facebook page fundraising....may be the fundraising taking place before they received confirmation of the position from their insurance I just don't know. I hope the baby is ok though.

Micah Sat 03-Jan-15 17:56:58

For me personally, I am not sure about the ethics of these fundraising things for individuals in general.

The whole little jimmy has a tumour and might need to go to the U.S. so we need £160k seems default.

I know their kids are sick, and it's devastating. But we have the nhs. Which in the majority of cases of children's illness will pay for treatment abroad if it's deemed necessary.

There's no regulation, and if little Jimmy recovers and doesn't need treatment abroad, the money is theirs to keep. Some of them are almost professional fundraisers too.

I never donate unless it's a registered charity.

meditrina Sat 03-Jan-15 18:00:19

Do you know all the things you have just published about these people as fact?

Is the giving page purporting to be a charity? For there is no way one can have been registered in E/W that quickly, so for avoidance of doubt, are you saying that it is? Because if so you appear to be publishing an accusation that whoever set up the FB page of a crime, as well as the parents of the crime of fraud.

If that is not what you intended to do, then you had better get this deleted sharpish.

bryonyelf Sat 03-Jan-15 18:04:18

I haven't accused anyone of anything.

DeeConnors Sat 03-Jan-15 18:06:56

"Do you know all the things you have just published about these people as fact?" ---- I am using the actual quotes from Lee's boss (Richard Crow) who set up the facebook page and fundraising page (which only take 10 minutes to set up), and quotes & pics from Lee Johnston's own facebook profile (of his 'toys' the motorbikes & cars). Proof enough (out of the horse's mouth).

ArgyMargy Sat 03-Jan-15 18:07:08

If you give money in response to something on Facebook, you probably should not be worrying about whether it's genuine. 90% of stuff on Facebook is rubbish and if you don't know that by now you're in trouble (not you personally OP, people in general).

DeeConnors Sat 03-Jan-15 18:14:51

It seems the whole thing is now blowing up in their faces. It seems Richard Crow was making various claims that (1) the couple didn't have insurance and were stranded with a huge hospital bill or (2) they did have insurance but it wouldn't pay, and he got the media involved to publicise the need to raise funds, and it was only then that the media did the research and confirmed that the insurance WAS covering the full cost. Richard then backtracked claiming the fundraising was not for medical treatment but was to pay for the family to fly out there and but new clothes. The whole thing is falling apart and being exposed as a scam.

AmIthatHot Sat 03-Jan-15 18:17:27

There is a nearly full thread about this here on chat. I can't link but the majority of posters seem to agree

Philoslothy Sat 03-Jan-15 18:18:14

The bill has been wiped.

AmIthatHot Sat 03-Jan-15 18:21:14

Sorry, I meant the thread is on AIBU

sarahbanshee Sat 03-Jan-15 18:28:35

It's not a charity. No fundraising for a single individual or family (however deserving) can be a registered charity in this country; you could have a charity to help people facing unexpected medical bills in the US, which could then help this family, but an appeal to help this specific family only could never be a charity.

Whatever you think about the ethics of this particular appeal, people donating have no protection in law if they regret their donation, want it back, or feel misled about what it is spent on.

vindscreenviper Sat 03-Jan-15 18:28:45

There is a long thread about this in AIBU, I think the general consensus is that the couple's friend/boss started this in good faith but jumped the gun and didn't have all the facts to hand. He now seems to be completely out of his depth on social media, the fb page is sprinkled with racist and disablist 'bantz', and some people are now interpreting his bellend-ery for dishonestly.

I think that about covers it.

SunshineBossaNova Sat 03-Jan-15 18:46:19

I think vindscreenviper has summed it up nicely.

The donation page has been updated to show how the couple will use the funds.

bryonyelf Sat 03-Jan-15 18:48:50

Surely he'd be better to say that and close everything down.

DeeConnors Sat 03-Jan-15 19:01:22

After all the misleading claims, I wonder if anyone will actually believe any of the money is going to be donated to any charity as he now says, or will just all end up in their back pocket.
I know what I suspect.

vindscreenviper Sat 03-Jan-15 20:54:27

<blows raspberry at MNHQ>
Since this thread will no doubt be the next to go can I just ask if Max Clifford is actually running the pr for this scam on a smuggled mobile from his jail cell? Somebody's really put the frighteners on you hmm

IAmOnMyBike Sat 03-Jan-15 21:03:27


Philoslothy Sat 03-Jan-15 21:06:14

Why was the other thread deleted?

I really should learn to click "view all messages"

DancingDays Sat 03-Jan-15 21:06:44

Just making place.

vindscreenviper Sat 03-Jan-15 21:11:22

There were some childish posts about the parents appearance but most of the chat was about the dodginess of the guy who was running the facebook and donation sites.
All gone now.
'Not in the spirit of Mumsnet' apparently.
6 y.o girls being scammed out of their pocket money must be though hmm

Philoslothy Sat 03-Jan-15 21:19:03

Could they not just have deleted those posts?

TheReluctantCountess Sat 03-Jan-15 21:30:18

They are being bloody cheeky.

AmIthatHot Sat 03-Jan-15 21:32:36

Isn't it usual to have a note of why a thread was deleted. It has just disappeared fro my TIO.

What explanation was given?

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