A TikToker is accused of mishandling $20,000 he raised on GoFundMe for a woman he said was homeless

Hand with money
A popular TikToker who raised over $US20,000 ($AU27,395) to support a woman said he told her about the fund and was not making the financial decisions for her. Mykola Sosiukin / EyeEm
  • A TikToker raised over $US20,000 ($AU27,395) on GoFundMe to support a woman he said was homeless.
  • A week ago, another popular creator made several videos questioning Read Choi’s intentions.
  • Choi refuted the speculation and said he told the woman about the fund.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

TikTok users are questioning what a creator is doing with the money he raised through a GoFundMe page.

Read Choi, who has 3 million followers on the platform, went viral in June after he posted a TikTok of a woman he said was experiencing homelessness. He then started a GoFundMe to support her.

Now, people are speculating that Choi hasn’t given the woman the $US20,000 ($AU27,395) raised by the page. Choi, who did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, has refuted the allegation in several videos.

A GoFundMe spokesperson told Insider the company was working with the fund’s organizer – listed as Choi on the fundraiser’s page – “to ensure funds are used as intended.”

Meanwhile, the hashtag “#readchoiexposed,” which creators have used on videos to call out Choi, has reached over 500,000 views in the last week.

Read Choi went viral after he met a woman he said was experiencing homelessness

On June 26, Choi posted a TikTok showing him meeting a woman whose name he said was Martha. He said the woman was experiencing homelessness and that he bought clothing and food for her.

He also announced he was launching a GoFundMe to raise money for her. He didn’t say how he met her but stated she had recently gotten “out of the ER due to a head injury.”

The GoFundMe, which Choi created the same day, has since raised $US20,187 ($AU27,652). As of Thursday, the page says the fundraiser was “deactivated by the organizer” and was “no longer accepting donations.” It was not immediately clear when Choi closed the GoFundMe.

In a July 31 video, Choi said he paid for a room and groceries for the woman. He posted another update on September 15 answering questions about the GoFundMe money. He had told the woman about the fundraiser “multiple times,” he said, but added that she forgot about it.

He also said he has “tried giving her” small amounts of the money, but “the way that she spends it reveals why I’ve been keeping things private.” He also said, “she has problems that are stereotypical to people of her and her position.”

A popular creator began questioning where the GoFundMe money was going

The outcry began when @Dthekorean, who has over 470,000 followers, posted a series of videos questioning what happened to the money.

On September 15, @Dthekorean uploaded a TikTok with a woman whom he said was “Martha” from Choi’s videos. In the video, @Dthekorean asked the woman, whom he called “Marcia,” whether Choi told her about the $US20,000 ($AU27,395) GoFundMe donation and she said “no.”

The video has amassed over 475,000 views as of Thursday.

@dthekorean Her name is Marcia. Please go on my Instagram for more updates. #readchoi #readchoiexposed #Hernameismarcia #scammer #exposereadchoi @readchoi

♬ original sound – Dthekorean

Choi refuted @Dthekorean’s speculation

On Friday, Choi acknowledged in a response video to @Dthekorean’s clip that he spoke to the same woman, but alleged the woman had lied to @Dthekorean because she “does not trust people” and felt like she was in “an interrogation.”

Throughout the TikTok, Choi interspersed clips that showed him standing in a room asking questions to a woman he said was Martha, although her face was not visible and only her voice could be heard in the background. Insider was unable to verify whether it was the same woman Choi says he raised money for.

@readchoi My response to the live video. Please stop sharing her personal information. Thank you ##exposereadchoi ##readchoi ##readchoiexposed

♬ original sound – Read Choi

The discussion has continued to spread. On Sunday, a news TikTok account called Aunt Karen, which has over 1.3 million followers, made a TikTok recounting the controversy with the title “Scam likely?!” The clip has over 500,000 views.

A spokesperson for GoFundMe told Insider the company has been working with “the organizer” of the GoFundMe “to ensure funds are used as intended.” Although they never mentioned Choi by name, they also added that GoFundMe’s trust and safety team required the organizer of this case to complete a document stating what the money would be used for before it was released to them.

“If the funds are not used as stated in the written document, additional measures can be taken to protect donors and prevent misuse,” the spokesperson said.

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