When police officers found 19-year-old Fred Barley sleeping in a tent outside of Gordon State College a few weeks ago, his life forever changed. This homeless college student said he rode his brother’s bike for six hours from Conyers to Barnesville, Ga to register for his second semester of college.
In an effort to assist the determined young man, officers paid out-of-pocket for him to stay in a local hotel room for two days. Barley posted his story on the Barnesville Community Facebook Page and the community quickly rallied behind him with support. Included in the donations was a motel room for housing until he was able to get into the dorms, a job offer at a local pizzeria, as well as a GoFundMe page raising $184,000+ for the young man.
The giving momentum came to a screeching halt when, Casey Blaney, the woman who began the GoFundMe account for Barley, became suspicious about the validity his story.
In a Facebook message posted on Wednesday, she expressed her concerns.
This is her message from last week, suggesting a trust fund for the student.
In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Blaney’s lawyer, Wright Gammon spoke on Blaney’s behalf saying that accepting more funds would mean “taking advantage of the public”.
“The only person getting hands on the money is Fred if he’s in school and the trustee that’s going to make the decisions as to when and how much to pay,” Gammon said.
According to the AJC, GoFundMe has frozen the account and raised an inquiry into his story. If things do not check out, officials with the crowdfunding site say the money will be refunded to donors.
GoFundMe Terms of Service states the site reserves the right “without limitation, removing the offending content, suspending or terminating the account of such violators, stopping payments to any such Campaign, freezing or placing a hold on donated funds” for “content or campaigns that are fraudulent, misleading, inaccurate, dishonest, impossible or imitating any other person or fundraising campaign (whether on the Platform or not)”.