GoFundMe Issues Refunds For Donations to Fort Pierce Murder Suspect

Sheila Hamner, 74, was killed on Dec.10 in her home in Fort Pierce, and her son Kenny Hamner was badly injured.

Coworkers did what many do these days and created a GoFundMe page for him.

Support poured in from friends, family and strangers. Within 22 days the site had collected over $6,000.

Then came the twist on Tuesday when St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Hamner for the murder of his mother.

The intent of the page was to raise funds for Sheila’s funeral and Kenny’s medical bills for the injuries he sustained that night.

“We now believe those wounds were self-inflicted to further deter our investigation,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara on Tuesday.

Shortly after the news broke, people posted on the Kenny Hamner’s Fund page, demanding their money back.

In the evening the site had been taken down, but the money had already been paid out to the family.

NBC 6 affiliate WPTV tried to get a hold of the creator of the page to see what those funds were used for, but got no response.

Internet security expert and CEO of Infostream, Alan Crowetz warns everyone to make sure the cause of a GoFundMe page is legitimate before donating. The best way is if you know the person or research if there are news stories on the cause.

“In this case, even if you did your homework, it would have checked out,” Crowetz said.

GoFundMe has a policy to protect you from scams. If there is any evidence of misuse or deception you can get up to $1,000 back.

“The big debate is whether go fund me considered this a scam or not,” Crowetz said.

Crowetz said there are plenty of GoFundMe scams out there where people make up fake causes to get your money. But in the case of the Kenny Hamner fund, the money went where page creators said it would: to Kenny and his family.

WPTV contacted GoFundMe directly. After reviewing the case a spokesperson responded in an email saying: “GoFundMe will grant refunds to all donors.”

The spokesperson also said the money had been distributed to the family last month but he did not know what that money was used for.

Crowetz said the money will not come from the family since it has already been distributed.

"It's going to come directly from GoFundMe," Crowetz said.

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