When parents of ill children take to crowdfunding platforms to raise money for their operations, meeting that goal can be quite a challenge. But 23-year-old housewife Duong Thi Hai Nhi was able to raise the S$55,000 she needed for her baby’s daughter’s surgery.
What sense of accomplishment she had after achieving her fundraising goal was cut short, however, by a woman who calls herself “Ashley Lee”. This woman scammed Hai Nhi out of over S$53,000 before disappearing.
In an update on the Give.asia, campaign, Hai Nhi wrote, “My husband and I feel very bad, not only to our Baby Rizky, and also to our donors, who had contributed last year for Baby Rizky surgery.”
This may be the first known case of an online scam targetting crowdfunders, reports The Straits Times.
A sick baby
Hai Nhi’s daughter, Rizky, was born in with Apert syndrome. This syndrome causes abnormal development of the skull and fuses the fingers and toes together. She spent the first four months of her life in the hospital.
Rizky had several surgeries to aid her breathing and needs additional surgeries for her head and fingers. The surgery would cost around S$55,000. That was a problem for Hai Nhi and her husband because they had already used up their money on their daughter’s previous treatments. Neither had any insurance.
And so, around May of last year, Hai Nhi decided to start crowdfunding on Give.asia. It was around then that Lee contacted her via the website. Hai Nhi gave the woman her number as Lee had a reputation for helping other people on Give.asia. (Later, chief development officer Dennis Yeo and Free Food For all founder Mr Nizar Mohd Shariff also lodged complaints against Lee.)
The scammer even hosted a party for her baby
“She came to visit us quite often, bring us out for dinner and even hosted a party for Baby Rizky last year,” wrote Hai Nhi.
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