Coal Township woman charged with theft of funds raised for fatal fire victim's family
SHAMOKIN — A 25-year-old Coal Township woman has been arrested in conjunction with the theft of donation money collected during a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding website gofundme.com for the family of Missy Pangburn, 13, who died in her bedroom Dec. 10 at 5 S. Rock St. during a fatal fire.
According to police, Victoria Fortune, 25, of 1625 Pulaski Ave., Coal Township, raised $1,240 during the campaign and never turned any over to the victim’s family. Fortune admitted to spending $643.04 of the money. She was arraigned around 11:15 a.m. before Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III and is charged with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received and receiving stolen property. Both are misdemeanors.
Fortune was committed to Northumberland County Prison in lieu of $10,000 cash bail. Fortune appeared aloof at the arraignment and was observed joking with family members. When asked for comment, her husband, Wayne Fortune, said, “This is ridiculous.”
Victoria Fortune closed the online account in January and the Web page was deleted. However, a cached version can be viewed through a Google search. It had asked for donations for Pangburn’s family and the other fire victims.
Fortune denied any wrongdoing in a January interview with The News-Item, but could not explain where the money went. She pledged to repay the family.
According to Coal Township Police Detective Jeff Brennan, Fortune turned herself after she was contacted Thursday regarding the arrest. When asked if she understood the charges, Fortune said, “Yes.”
When contacted by authorities Thursday, members of Pangburn's family said they are happy with the arrest. Family members may be called as witnesses at Fortune’s hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.