Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Pemberton Township Police Chief David King announced on October 8, 2020 that a 33-year-old Little Egg Harbor woman has been charged with creating a fictitious GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the funeral of her 4-year-old son, who she claimed died of cancer, but in reality had been adopted by a Pemberton Township couple after she signed away her parental rights.
Holly Garcia, of Lake Champlain Drive, was charged with Computer Criminal Activity (Second Degree) and Attempted Theft by Deception (Third Degree).
She was taken into custody September 24 and released last week following an initial appearance in Superior Court in Mount Holly. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.
The investigation began in June after a couple from Pemberton Township who recently adopted Garcia’s 4-year-old son contacted police to say that his photo was being used in a GoFundMe campaign seeking $5,000 for funeral expenses for a child who had reportedly died from cancer.
The investigation revealed that Garcia created the campaign. Further investigation determined that Garcia had created multiple fictitious GoFundMe campaigns seeking money for the following: an urn for her dead son’s ashes; assistance for her 4-year-old son who is going blind in one eye (and whose father had died); assistance for her unborn child; a stroller for her two-month old son, who was born premature; and assistance raising rent money for an apartment, because she claimed she was four months pregnant and homeless.
The total amount requested by Garcia through all of the campaigns was $11,350. The campaigns were ended by the company after being notified by law enforcement that they were not legitimate. Garcia did not receive any contributions before they were taken down.
Garcia will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit. The investigation was conducted by the Pemberton Township Police Department, with assistance from the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit. The lead investigator is Pemberton Township Police Detective Joshua Danka.
All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.