Woonsocket woman arrested for $28K GoFundMe fraud

Woonsocket woman arrested for $28K GoFundMe fraud

WOONSOCKET – A city woman who raised $28,000 online under the false claim that she had a brain tumor and would use it for medical expenses was arrested this week by the Rhode Island State Police.

Alicia Pierini, 35, of 27 Farm St., 1st floor, is facing charges of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 and access to a computer for fraudulent purposes.

State police say that in May of 2016 their financial crimes unit initiated an investigation into a complaint against Pierini and found out that she had told friends and family members that she had a brain tumor or brain cancer. A friend of Pierini's reportedly started a GoFundMe account to assist with her medical expenses and pulled in donations of around $28,000.

As time went on, friends and family members reportedly became suspicious of claims that she had cancer. State police detectives confirmed that Pierini had never been a patient of any of the doctors and cancer treatment facilities that she had indicated. After further investigation, they determined Pierini was utilizing the donated funds in a fraudulent fashion, an affidavit/ arrest warrant was obtained.

GoFundMe will be reimbursing the individuals who donated to the online account.

Any additional victims who wish to come forward can contact the Financial Crimes Unit at 401-444-1201.

Pierini was presented at Sixth Division District Court for arraignment and no plea was entered on the felony charges. She was released on $40,000 personal recognizance.