Suspect arrested in NJ ticket scam, allegedly stealing family's GoFundMe funeral funds

FRANKLIN, New Jersey (WABC) -- The woman wanted for selling phony football tickets and also allegedly stealing donations from a grieving family is under arrest.

Alicia Pallozzi is now in police custody. She was arrested in Franklin Borough Wednesday night.

A family says that she stole money donated to them to cover their loved ones funeral.

"To take advantage of my mom...she's burying her child and you take money from her?" said Caitlin Borras, scam victim's daughter.

This time it wasn't a sports fan being scammed, it was a grieving family.

25-year-old Melissa Borras died last year from a drug overdose.

Her family says Alicia Pallozzi, a casual acquaintance, stepped up, or so they thought to help with funeral expenses by offering to raise money.

"And said, 'Let me do a GoFundMe page.' I said, 'Awesome, I appreciate it.' It raised close to $5,000," Borras said.

They were small donations that added up from people giving to help a family in mourning.

But Franklin Police say Pallozzi was helping herself.

"It appears Alicia was taking most of the money for herself, as opposed to what she was advertising it for," said Det. Nevis Mattessich, Franklin Borough Police.

To add the proverbial insult to injury, the family says Palozzi stepped even lower.

"She was telling everyone she paid for my sister's service, and she did not and that's when I stopped talking to her, that was a slap in the face," Borras said.

Police say Palozzi used several social media sites to offer tickets to football games, exclusive packages she posted costing hundreds, some, more than a thousand dollars.

People who bought from her say she never delivered.

Investigators are still working to determine the total loss and are meeting with officials from the NFL to discuss security measures to prevent these types of incidents from occurring.

After our first story on this aired Tuesday night police say they received more calls from others who were scammed.

Pallozzi has been charged with theft by deception. Police say that she was found to be traveling from Maryland to NJ and was apprehended near the police headquarters in Franklin Borough.

The GoFundMe scam ripped at this mother's heart.

"Why would you pry off grieving people, I don't get it," she said.

Melissa's family started fundraisers for drug prevention programs to help other families. They say Pallozzi wormed her way into that and took even more money.

GoFundMe announced on Wednesday night that they will donate the $4,105 to the Borras family, which was raised for funeral expenses.

GoFundMe spokesperson Bobby Whithorne released a statement saying:

"Fraudulent campaigns make up less than one tenth of one percent of all campaigns. With that said, there are rare occasions where individuals try to take advantage of others' generosity and commit fraud.

Our goal is to protect donors and ensure those that need help get the help they deserve. That's why GoFundMe is making a donation to the Borras family to ensure they receive all undelivered funds raised on their behalf. We want to honor the donors' intentions and make sure the Borras family receives the help they deserve.

Our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means funds raised by GoFundMe campaigns are guaranteed to go to the right person.

We always cooperate with law enforcement investigations and will work directly with the local PD."

If you fell for one of Pallozzi's schemes, police are eager to hear from you.
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