Woman charged after creating fake donation page for terminally ill Canonsburg's teen

Woman charged after creating fake donation page for terminally ill Canonsburg’s teen

CANONSBURG, Pa. — A woman was charged with theft after creating a fake GoFundMe page for a terminally ill Canonsburg's teenager.

After Luke Blanock announced that his cancer had become terminal, a GoFundMe account circulated on social media.

The community donated to the account created by “Eric P.” Until people realized Luke’s last name was spelled incorrectly and the hashtag “Luke Strong” had been replaced with “Stay Strong Luke.”

Content Continues Below

Cecil Township police served three warrants to GoFundMe to track the real identity of “Eric P.”

"You have a young man battling cancer. His family (is) going through a lot of emotions and now they have to deal with this. It takes somebody very low in my opinion to take money from a grieving family," Detective James Brose said.

Brittani McDonald, of Cecil Township, was charged with two counts of theft Thursday.

Police said McDonald used a fake email address, name and residence on the account.

“It’s important to remember that less than one tenth of one percent of campaigns are fraudulent. While fraud is an extremely rare occurrence on our platform, there are the unfortunate cases where people create campaigns with the intention of taking advantage of others' generosity. In this case, this campaign was quickly flagged as fraudulent and all of the donations were returned to the donors,” a GoFundMe spokesperson told Channel 11.

McDonald accepted a plea deal of 18 months of probation and 50 hours of community service.

“She's from within the community. (I’m) a little bit hurt but that doesn't detract from the support that's been overwhelming,” Luke’s dad Kurt Blanock said.