FREEHOLD – A Tinton Falls woman has been criminally charged with organizing an online fundraiser for a Florida man severely injured in a car accident late last year and then stealing the more than $15,000 she raised, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Monday.
Nicole C. Weidelman, 46, is charged with third-degree Theft by Deception.
An investigation led by Tinton Falls Police Department Detective William Rodriguez revealed that in November 2022, the intended fundraiser recipient was involved in a serious motor vehicle collision on I-95 in Florida. The recovery from the incident proved lengthy and costly, reportedly involving more than a dozen surgeries, a month and a half in the hospital, and the loss of an arm, necessitating a prosthetic.
The investigation revealed that Weidelman contacted the man’s mother, a longtime family friend, and offered to set up an online fundraiser to assist with the expenses incurred from the medical bills. But after raising slightly more than $15,000, Weidelman transferred the entirety of the raised sum into her own personal account via more than two dozen transactions, then provided numerous false explanations to the victims over the course of the next several months, before the theft was reported to authorities.
Weidelman was arrested and charged last week.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Nelsen, Director of the MCPO Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau. Information about Weidelman’s legal representation was not immediately available.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.