The woman who raised more than $233,000 on GoFundMe to avoid eviction, but later admitted her story was false, is now blocked from receiving a single penny thanks to a Las Vegas judge. Dasha Kelly claimed to be the mother of three girls ages 5, 6 and 8 in her GoFundMe online posting. A new lawsuit filed by the biological mother of the girls leaves all the money raised in limbo.
In early August, Kelly created a GoFundMe page seeking $2,000 to pay rent. Her GoFundMe page which reads “Help My Girls and I avoid eviction” garnered national attention, which boosted her donations.
After being featured on national television Kelly’s donations grew substantially. The girls’ biological mother, Shadia Hilo, subsequently came forward as the real mother, leaving Kelly to admit she was not the girls’ mother afterall.
According to Marc Randazza, Hilo’s attorney, Kelly was dating the girls’ father.
On Aug. 23, 2021, a judge heard oral arguments for Hilo’s lawsuit, which asked the court to freeze the money raised from the GoFundMe page until the case is settled. Court documents from Hilo’s claim says Kelly “exploited the children for financial gain in a fraudulent fundraising scheme.”
“The judge decided, at least based on what he had seen in the case so far, we had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, and that it would be fair and equitable to lock the money up so the kids don’t have it, Ms. Kelly doesn’t have it. The money is just sitting right where it was until further action by the court,” said Randazza.
After Randazza contacted GoFundMe about the allegations, the fundraising company gave donors a few days to seek a refund. Kelly’s GoFundMe amount went from more than $233,000 to slightly more than $162,000.
Before taking the matter before a judge, Randazza says he and Hilo offered to split the money four ways between Kelly and each of the three girls leaving them with a quarter of the money each. Randazza said Kelly was not satisfied with that proposal.
Atlanta Black Star was unsuccessful in contacting Kelly but did hear from her newly hired lawyer, Craig Drummond. He offered no comment on the case, as he was still reviewing materials related to it.
Hilo also declined to be interviewed. Randazza said she is “not a very public person.”
Hilo is a mother of eight children and “not wealthy… so [the money if awarded] will not simply go buy her another sports car,” Randazza said.
The experienced Nevada attorney expects the case to move quickly in the Las Vegas courts. He believes all parties involved should know who is getting the $162,000 before Thanksgiving.