FAIRVIEW Okla. - Money intended for a metro child's funeral ended up in the hands of an alleged thief.
Major County Sheriff's Office said Michael Winner setup a GoFundMe page for his friends who lost their son, only to pocket the cash.
Investigators said Winner allegedly stole over $2,000 in donations that were intended to cover the funeral cost of the young boy.
“I'm not going to say I did it; I'm also not going to say I didn't do it,” he said over the phone.
Winner said he did set up the page to help out his friends, but folks around town can’t believe the allegations.
“Neighbors shouldn't do that, or friends,” said Hazel Voth.
“It's just horrible; I can't believe somebody would do that to parents that just lost a child," said Shellie Arnbrecht.
Investigators said Winner setup the GoFundMe account and placed donation jars throughout town, collecting a little more than the $2,000.
“Mr. Winner and the victim's family were family friends, and he done that under the pretense of helping them out; unfortunately, he kept all the money for himself,” said Undersheriff Wes Mongold.
The news hit folks in the community hard.
“You wouldn't not think that somebody in our little, small town would be doing that to a family that really could have used the money,” said Lisa Thomas.
Major county officials said Winner had the GoFundMe transferred to his personal bank account - claiming he was just trying to feed his family, but investigators said they believe that was a lie.
“I believe he bought several hotel rooms across the state, he bought auto parts for vehicles he owns,” Mongold said.
We called Winner; he told us it was never his intentions to hurt anyone.
“I never meant for any of this to even happen. It was just one small thing that happened, and they didn't accept my apology,” he said.
Winner said he's not a bad person, he just found himself in a tough spot.
“I got an email saying that it needed to be transferred, and I was in a hole at the time in the bank when it transferred. I explained to them that what happened, told them how sorry I was about it; this is what I had left,” he said.
Winner was arrested on a warrant and charged with felony confidence game.