GoFundMe puts funds on hold after Alberta cyclist who filed police report removes campaign

GoFundMe says funds are on hold after an Alberta cyclist who said he was injured by barbed wire ended the fundraising campaign abruptly. GoFundMe

UPDATE: Alberta cyclist who claimed to be injured by barbed wire, started GoFundMe facing charges

A Calgary man who says he was clothes-lined in the neck by barbed wire while riding on a trail in West Bragg Creek Provincial Park has closed his fundraising campaign before reaching anywhere near his $8,000 goal.

“We can confirm that the organizer has removed the campaign and we are looking into this,” GoFundMe’s Canadian communications manager Rachel Hollis told Global News in an emailed statement.

“No money has been withdrawn by the campaign organizer and GoFundMe had already placed the funds on hold. We also reached out to the campaign organizer for additional information.”

Stelios Psaroudakis, 37, originally posted on a GoFundMe page, saying he was looking for help paying his medical bills, to buy a new bike after he said his was stolen, and to donate cameras to trails in Alberta parks.

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RCMP previously told Global News the victim reported it happened at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5. The report filed with police said the wire was about six-and-a-half to seven feet up from the ground, strung between two trees, and knocked the victim to the ground. RCMP said the victim told police his friend took him to hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

The provincial government told Global News Tuesday that no safety issues were found after a sweep of the West Bragg Creek trail area and there were no changes under consideration for the trail system while the investigation is underway.

GoFundMe said its platform is backed by a guarantee that ensures money goes “to the right place.”

“In the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get their money back.”

Police said Wednesday they are continuing to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call the Cochrane RCMP at 403-932-2211.

Multiple Global News interview requests to Psaroudakis were not returned.

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