Update: GoFundMe removes fake account soliciting funds for respite center

Visitors to downtown McAllen walk in front of a building that will serve as the new respite center one block north of the McAllen bus station on Monday, April 22, 2019, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

Updated at 1:58 p.m.

GoFundMe has removed the fake account purportedly soliciting donations for a permanent respite center, according to GoFundMe spokesperson Jenny Perillo.

Perillo confirmed that the GoFundMe account, “Permanent Home for Immigrant Respite Center,” has been removed from the website and refunds made in full.

“We take fraudulent campaigns very seriously, and we have put multiple processes in place to ensure transparency across the platform and empower donors,” Perillo said in an email. “We also deploy proprietary technical tools and have a dedicated team that works around the clock to monitor fraudulent behavior.”

11:50 a.m.

McALLEN — The city is warning residents that a fake GoFundMe account is purporting to raise money for a permanent site for the immigrant respite center.

Titled “Permanent Home for Immigrant Respite Center,” the account in question lists City Manager Roy Rodriguez as the creator of a $180,000 campaign for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley’s Humanitarian Respite Center.

“Please note that this site is false and is not an official fundraiser for the non-profit organization and was not established by the City of McAllen,” the city said in a Friday news release.

As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, the campaign had only raised $20.

The city encourages anyone wishing to make a donation to the respite center to contact Catholic Charities directly.

Last month, the city commission approved a permit for the respite center to temporarily move into a vacant building near the corner of Austin Avenue and 15th Street, near the downtown bus station.