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Woman who raised thousands on GoFundMe facing lawsuit

Updated August 19, 2021 - 9:17 pm

North Las Vegas resident Dasha Kelly, who raised national attention by raising thousands of dollars on GoFundMe to stave off an eviction, is now facing a lawsuit.

Kelly was interviewed by CNN earlier this month as part of a story on the federal eviction moratorium. At the time, she claimed to be the mother of three young girls but it was later discovered that she was not, according to CNN.

The children’s birth mom, Shadia Hilo, filed a lawsuit against Dasha Kelly on Tuesday alleging she did not give Kelly permission to feature her children on CNN. Hilo wants the GoFundMe proceeds placed into a trust for her kids, who are 5, 6 and 8 years old.

“The three minor children…had been used as props to raise a large amount of money, all of which by rights should belong to them,” according to the complaint filed in Clark County District Court.

Hilo’s attorney Marc Randazza said money raised through GoFundMe should be given to his client’s children.

“I believe those funds rightly belong to those three children,” said Randazza. “That is the essence of the lawsuit.”

Kelly created the GoFundMe campaign to raise $2,000 to cover back rent and prevent an eviction but after speaking with CNN she was able to raise more than $230,000 from over 3,000 donors, noting plans to create a savings account for each child.

But after the news outlet updated its story and noted that Kelly was not the children’s mother, Kelly updated her GoFundMe page last week to say the crowdfunding platform would issue a full refund for any donor upon request through Aug. 23.

“The girls recognize me as a mother figure in their lives, but I am not their biological mother,” according to Kelly’s post.

GoFundMe said in a statement last week it would release the funds after Aug. 23, minus any refunds.

Kelly’s fundraising campaign has since dropped to about $163,000.

Contact Subrina Hudson at shudson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @SubrinaH on Twitter.

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