Police have arrested the woman who they say created a fake Facebook page in order to raise money for the #JusticeForJessica campaign.
Janet Posey, 39, of Blue Springs, was arrested Wednesday night at her home in Union County by investigators with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division with assistance from the Union County Sheriff's Office. Posey is charged with one count attempted false pretense and one count communications fraud for allegedly setting up a scam to fundraise donations for the family of Jessica Lane Chambers, whose death is under investigation in Panola County.
“Family members and friends of the family brought their concerns about the site to our attention,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “Because we will be prosecuting the case, we cannot discuss any details of our case at this time. I would like to thank Sheriff Jimmy Edwards for his assistance in this arrest.”
Posey was booked into the Union County Detention Center. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years behind bars (10 for false pretense and five for communications fraud). As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by Richie McCluskey and Miller Faulk and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Shaun Yurtkuran of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South said scams happen every time tragedy occurs, both locally and globally. In this particular case, Posey was caught by the Chambers family when they noticed a glaring mistake. Her alleged scheme was uncovered because the name on the Facebook page was Jessica Lynn Chambers, but the victim's middle name is not Lynn but Lane.
"My thoughts are, honestly, that she is a disgusting person," said Amanada Prince, the victim's sister. "I mean, who would create something so fake in such a tragedy like this?"
"Our hearts open up and we want to help but there are a few who want to take advantage of the situation," said Randy Hutchinson of the BBB of the Mid-South.
Hutchinson said it can be hard to distinguish between a noble grassroots effort and fraud.
"It's going to better if there is a fund set up at a bank for example for the benefit of, or to help the victim that's when it tends to be more legitimate," he said.
AG Hood said Posey created the website with the pretense to raise money through donations. Hutchinson warns websites don't always mean the effort is legit.
"So you just have to check it out as best you can," he said.
Prince was tipped off from friends and family after they either noticed or were alerted to the website.
"I really have no words to describe a person like that, but that's inhumane," Prince said. "I don't know?"
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