Criminal defense: Investigation into couple's GoFundMe account

A New Jersey woman and her boyfriend may soon face charges of misusing funds raised through the popular website GoFundMe. Although neither has been arrested yet, police recently searched the couple's home and confiscated at least one of their vehicles. They are expected in court soon, and may already be considering possible criminal defense strategies. 

In 2017, the woman was traveling on I-95 when her vehicle's gas tank hit empty, and a homeless veteran used all of the money he had to help her out of that difficult situation. To thank the man who helped her, she and her boyfriend established a GoFundMe account that reportedly raised more than $400,000. Police apparently suspect that the couple used some of that money for their personal benefit, and noted that they had taken several trips over the past few months. 

After GoFundMe collected its fees, there was about $360,000 left over. The two who raised the money say they gave the homeless vet around $200,000, but he refuted that claim, asserting that he only received about $75,000 worth of services, goods and cash. He is suing the couple for the rest of the money, but they claim that there is not anything left over. A judge has since ordered that they establish a trail for the donated money. 

Being the subject of a criminal investigation does not necessarily mean that an individual will be arrested or charged with a crime. Still, being prepared is usually a good idea. Early criminal defense planning may help New Jersey defendants better handle any resulting charges.  

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