Woman Pleads Guilty For Stealing GoFundMe Donations
A trial for two counts of felony theft charges has been canceled following a guilty plea from a woman who had been accused of stealing donations from a GoFundMe page she started to benefit the familes of three men who drowned in Lake of the Woods.
29-year-old Retina Rayellen LaValla, was charged with two counts of felony theft back on February 9 which was only a few months after three boaters, 22-year old Justin Kelly Haugtvedt, 24-year-old Cody Joseph Ostendorf, and 28-year-old Keith Ayers, were reported missing after their boat was found capsized on Lake of the Woods.
LaValla had set up the GoFundMe account with the purpose of raising funds for the boaters’ families.
According to the complaint, LaValla said, “that she was going to pay it back eventually and the families ended up getting paid, so it was no big deal.”
The Lake of the Woods Sheriff’s Department said that LaValla had used some of the donated money to pay for various bills and groceries.
LaValla’s sentencing is scheduled for October 19.