By Nick Janes


FAIR OAKS (CBS13) — A family devastated by a deadly car crash says someone set up a phony crowdfunding account and profited off of their tragedy.

In the wake of unthinkable tragedy, Cecilia Rodriquez is putting on a brave face for her grandchildren.

“Sometimes, I just walk around like I’m in a daze,” she said. “I’m so broken inside. I try to keep myself together, because if I don’t, I’ll fall apart.”

Her son Michael, her niece Judy, her grandson Daniel and his girlfriend Brianna were all killed in a horrific car crash in Fair Oaks the day after Christmas.

Cecilia is taking care of Michael’s three children, including 1-year-old Georgia.

“She’s my heart, and she looks so much like him when he was little,” she said. “If you would see pictures of him, you would see her.”

She’s in desperate need of help, but she says someone cashed in on her family’s tragedy, setting up a phony GoFundMe account.

“I never saw one red penny of it,” she said.

That person tricked people into donating money that she never received.

“For people to make things up like that, negative things about a tragedy like this, it’s not right,” she said.

She says the fake fundraisers have since been taken down. The only one CBS13 could find on Monday was a legitimate one set up by Brianna’s father.

CBS13 contacted GoFundMe, who said in part, “In general, anytime we do find a copycat campaign, we remove it immediately and refund all donors in the event that any money was raised.”

Cecilia reached out to CBS13, because she says her grandkids are all she has left, and refuses to let them down.

“I have to do something,” she said. “I have to do something for these babies. I can’t let them go to foster care.”

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