Scammer creates fake fund for Nanakuli teen killed by drunk driver

Scammer creates fake fund for Nanakuli teen killed by drunk driver
Fake GoFundMe account (Image: Werner Hoku)
Fake GoFundMe account (Image: Werner Hoku)
Kehau Kaalouahi, Kaulana Werner’s Godmother (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Kehau Kaalouahi, Kaulana Werner’s Godmother (Image: Hawaii News Now)

NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A heartbroken family still coping with the loss of 19-year-old Kaulana Werner is dealing with a new shock — scammers exploiting the tragedy to make some money.

"It's just sad that other people will try to benefit from his tragic death," said Kehau Kaalouahi, Werner's Godmother.

Werner was killed by a suspected drunk driver last month as he was crossing the road, just feet from his Nanakuli home. He died in his father's arms.

Kaalouahi created a GoFundMe account to help pay for Werner's funeral, but was shocked to learn Friday that a separate fake account was created.

"The first indication was it was Warner, not Werner, so he spelled the name wrong," said Kaalouahi.

In the page's description, the scammer detailed two days after Werner passed, his mother died too.

"He said tragedy struck twice because his mother just passed away from cancer, and we were like what?" Kaalouahi said.

Werner's mother doesn't even have cancer.

The name on the fake page, Joe Kopa, also appeared to be made up. The picture used was actually a priest from a church on Kaua'i.

The scam sparked an outcry on social media. Hawaii News Now made calls to the web company, but they went unanswered.

The GoFundMe site states, "There is no way to 100% guarantee that a user's GoFundMe donation page contains accurate or truthful information. As such, donors should not make payments to any campaigns or people unless they fully understand and trust the cause presented."

Kaalouahi says the fake page only raised about 20 bucks in 2 weeks. Still, she is heartbroken knowing a scammer may have gotten money donated for her godson.

"It's going to be hard to forget him," she said. "Everyone tries to say he's in a better place, and all of us, we prefer him to be here with us."

Kaalouahi says she the fake GoFundMe account was deactivated almost immediately after she contacted the company and reported the fraud.

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