The money was entirely spent in stores in the central Florida area and online, and was used to pay bills, according to the sheriff's office.
Deputies said family members did not authorize anyone to create the account, and said they had not received any money from the funds raised, and they did not know the suspect, identified by detectives as Frostproof resident Amanda Brown, 32.
On Sept. 23, Polk County Sheriff's Fraud detectives arrested Brown and charged her with five counts criminal use of personal identification, one count grand theft, one count misrepresentation of proceeds, one count fraud for fraudulently misrepresenting three homicide victims' families and collecting more than $11,000 from GoFundMe on their behalf.
Detectives said Brown stated she created the account without authorization, intending to give the money to the families listed on the account, but spent it once she began receiving the funds. Brown also admitted to uploading all the information to the website, detectives said.
GoFundMe Inc. will refund the fundraiser's donors for the total sum of $11,505.39, the amount raised minus fees by the fundraiser, according to the sheriff's department.