South Dakota Woman Allegedly Stole Thousands from GoFundMe Created for 4-Year-Old Girl’s Funeral

A South Dakota woman faces criminal charges for allegedly stealing nearly $4,000 from a GoFundMe campaign she created to help a friend bury her 4-year-old daughter killed in a car accident.

Court records obtained by PEOPLE confirm the arrest of Stephanie Lea Blaine, 33, who has been charged with grand theft. If convicted, she could face five years in prison.

Blaine has entered a not guilty plea.

Her arrest affidavit alleges Blaine told the child’s mother, Cynthia Mathis, she made several withdrawals from the account to assist with impending funeral costs.

Mathis lost her daughter Jasmine to a car accident in late 2016. Also killed in the crash was Mathis’ mother-in-law, Cheryl Hartman. Another daughter survived the crash.

The arrest affidavit claims Mathis never received any money from Blaine. She allegedly checked with the funeral home and the hospital where her daughter had been treated, but neither had received any payment from Blaine or GoFundMe.com.

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The dispute over the $3,905 in donations ended up delaying Jasmine’s funeral, the affidavit alleges.

Mathis contacted GoFundMe.com about the issue, and allegedly learned Blaine had made nine withdrawals from the account, taking all but $400 of the raised cash. The site froze the account and reimbursed Mathis for the amount stolen.

The arrest affidavit alleges Blaine told investigators she believed Mathis wanted to use the raised money to pay for her mother-in-law’s funeral, and that the cash was intended for Jasmine’s burial.

“Maybe she was being a jerk,” Blaine allegedly told police, adding, “ you, I didn’t have to do this.”

Blaine allegedly told detectives she believed Mathis would use the money to buy herself a car, according to the affidavit.

Blaine is due in court on May 25.

PEOPLE could not reach Mathis or Blaine’s attorney for comment.

from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/crime/south-dakota-woman-allegedly-stole-funeral-gofundme/

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