Accused GoFundMe fraudster waives arraignment

  • Jeffrey Grenier, 25, of Manchester faces a felony charge of theft by unauthorized taking. Police say he stole from a GoFundMe campaign, which was supposed to be for the family of Sabrina Galusha.

Monitor staff
Thursday, December 14, 2017

On the same day he received $5,877 from a GoFundMe account for Sabrina Galusha, Jeffrey Grenier drove to Ira Toyota of Manchester to make a down payment on a vehicle.

But Grenier wasn’t satisfied with his first purchase; a few days later, he returned the vehicle and the dealership refunded his $5,000 down payment.

With the cash back in his Citizens Bank account, Grenier went to Auto Wholesalers of Hooksett on June 14 to purchase a 2015 Nissan Altima.

The transactions at both car dealerships were captured on records obtained by the Concord Police Department as part of their investigation into the misuse of GoFundMe campaign dollars. Police said they’d spent months following the money meant for Galusha’s funeral expenses and had probable cause to arrest Grenier by late November.

Grenier, 25, of Manchester faces charges of theft by unauthorized taking and theft by misapplication of property, both felonies. He waived his arraignment Thursday afternoon in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord. By agreement, he remains out of jail on $20,000 personal recognizance. His bail conditions prohibit him from having any contact with the Galusha family.

Galusha, 23, was fatally stabbed in her hometown of Concord on the evening of May 30 outside Penacook Place Apartments, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. Grenier’s GoFundMe page, titled “Sabrina Galusha Funeral Fund,” was set up two days after her death.

“For those who knew Sabrina she was a kind, caring, and loving person. She always knew how to make anyone smile,” Grenier wrote on the online donation page.

“Thank you in advanced for donating,” he added. “I’m going to issue a paper check to the family.”

Galusha’s father told police in late June that Grenier had initially contacted him by Facebook about the campaign, according to a sworn affidavit prepared by Concord police Detective Wade Brown. When Mark Galusha followed up with Grenier to thank him and ask how the funds would be exchanged, Grenier never replied, Brown wrote.

Police said they tracked the money to Grenier’s personal account through records provided by GoFundMe, a third party vendor that handled the transaction and Citizens Bank. They said 150 people had donated and that 55 of those donors were identified as Concord residents.

As part of their investigation, police attempted to speak with Grenier at an assisted-living facility in Goffstown where he was last known to work. Instead, officers learned from Grenier’s former supervisor that Grenier had walked off the job in July after purchasing a new car. The supervisor told police that the facility had received “numerous calls from anonymous members of the public” accusing Grenier of stealing from the GoFundMe funeral fund.

An official with GoFundMe told the Monitor that Galusha’s family will receive the money raised on their behalf.

“In this case, GoFundMe has taken action ... and will make sure the families receives the funds raised on their behalf,” Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe said in a statement.

No future court dates in the criminal case against Grenier have been scheduled.