By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Jenny Cataldo’s phony Cancer scam didn’t stop with her parents and GoFundMe donations.
Since the publication of my story this morning in APR detailing Cataldo’s long-running cancer scam, emails and messages have flooded in from friends and neighbors of Cataldo who donated to her – both through GoFundMe accounts and through private donations.
Cataldo, it seems, solicited private donations from dozens of people she knew. They came from Facebook groups, including one for her graduating class from high school, and from all walks of her life.
The largest donations appear to have come from a number of churches. Friends who followed Cataldo’s posts on social media, including her Facebook Live videos, convinced their church families to add Cataldo to their prayer and donations lists. And the money rolled in.
A friend of Cataldo’s who now lives in Chattanooga said she paid one of Cataldo’s bills and convinced her church to send money and gifts to Cataldo’s young son. Two months ago, the friend, who asked that her named not be used publicly for the time being, said she and others from her church footed the bill for Cataldo to take a “final” vacation to Chattanooga. They paid for the hotel room and a scooter rental for her to use, allegedly because her mobility was so limited due to the Cancer.
There is good news for at least some of those who donated.
Friday afternoon, GoFundMe released a statement saying it plans to make those who donated to Cataldo whole.
“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 will get their money back,” the statement said. “In the small handful of cases where misuse occurs, GoFundMe takes action to resolve the issue. The user has been banned, and we are working with law enforcement officials to make sure donors get their money back.”
Those who donated privately are encouraged to call the Alabama Attorney General’s Office at 334-353-1875.