Scammers taking advantage of deadly TECO accident to steal make some quick cash

Widow of Frank Lee Jones warns families
Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 02:47:39-04

Scammers are taking advantage of the deadly TECO accident to make some quick cash.

ABC Action News spoke with the widow of Frank Lee Jones, the fourth victim to pass. She is warning our others not to donate to the fund.

At first glance, the GoFundMe page seems legitimate. Personal pictures of the Jones family. A summary of their story and nearly $1,000 donated. But the Jones family is insisting the GoFundMe page under Frank Lee Jones' name is a fraud.

Tracy has known Frank Jones since they were children and became his wife just a year ago in June.

"I lost my friend, I lost my husband, I lost my confidant," she said.

Right now their son, Gary Marine Jr., is fighting for his life at Tampa General Hospital. Father and son severely burned by the molten slag in this deadly accident. But Tracey knew something was wrong when she kept getting calls about a GoFundMe she didn't recognize.

"I wasn't aware of it, Gaffin wasn't aware of it. The family wasn't aware of it," she said.

Taking a closer look more red flags starting appearing.

"It said my husband died on the 8th, my husband died on the 9th," said Jones.

What's worse, the campaign claims to be created on behalf of their daughter. Except she never touched the site. Plus, there is no way to directly get a hold of the organizer who is not Facebook verified.

"How dare you disrespect my husband? Me? The family? It was an insult," said Jones.

To the cold-hearted person who took advantage of a community's generosity using her husband's name she has one piece of advice.

"Don't," said Jones, "Just let him be, Let him rest!" 

This is money the family could have used. They're struggling to figure out how to lay Frank to rest and their youngest is just eight years old.

"I didn't know someone could be so mean, so cruel, I've never seen people like this and it's sad," she said.

Tracey reported the account as a scam but as we were working on the story the person behind it closed down the campaign.

For Gaffin there is just one official GoFundMe campaign for the Gaffin company families, That page has already raised over $16,000.