Rob Mercer, an amateur poker player, has admitted to fabricating a stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis in a GoFundMe campaign aimed at funding his entry into the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Mercer, hailing from Vallejo, California, sought to raise $10,000 for the tournament buy-in but collected between $30,000 and $50,000 in contributions, including a stay at the luxurious Bellagio Suite. He now confesses, "I did lie about having colon cancer," clarifying that he utilized this falsehood on a whim when asked about his illness.
"At the end of the day I lied to a lot of people because I was scared to tell the truth," Mercer continued. "And I guess I'll have to pay for that."
Expressing remorse for his deception, Mercer acknowledged that his actions were wrong and that he had been essentially shunned by the poker community. However, he declined to refund the donations, asserting that he believed he had undiagnosed breast cancer.
GoFundMe, upon discovering the violation of its terms of service, contacted Mercer. Subsequently, the platform informed the donors that they would be receiving refunds for their contributions.
Many are stating this troubling episode highlights the importance of honesty and transparency in crowdfunding campaigns and serves as a cautionary tale against deceitful fundraising endeavors.