A South Jersey woman who falsely claimed that her 4-year-old son had died of cancer then created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral has been charged with using a computer for criminal activity and attempted theft by deception, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday.
In reality, Holly Garcia’s son had been adopted by a Pemberton Township couple after she signed away her parental rights, authorities said.
Garcia, 33, of Lake Champlain Drive in Little Egg Harbor Township, Ocean County, was arrested late last month and released last week after an initial court appearance, the Prosecutor’s Office said.
She could not be reached by phone Thursday and no attorney was listed for her in court records.
The investigation began in June when the Pemberton couple contacted police after seeing the boy’s photo in a GoFundMe campaign seeking $5,000 for funeral expenses, authorities said.
They later discovered that Garcia had also created other false GoFundMe campaigns, claiming she needed money for an urn for her son’s ashes; to help her 4-year-old son because he was going blind in one eye; assistance for an unborn child; a stroller for a 2-month-old son; and rent money for an apartment after claiming she was pregnant and homeless.
The total amount Garcia sought in the campaigns was $11,350, the prosecutor’s office said. GoFundMe ended the campaigns after being notified by law enforcement that they were not legitimate, and Garcia did not receive any contributions before they were taken down, authorities said.
Her case will next be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment, prosecutors said.