Seattle man attempted GoFundMe fraud in the name of Ethiopian Doctor

Dr. Ayele Teshome is an Ethiopian doctor who goes out of his way to help out his patients and community. Days after his story was featured on national TV, he became a victim of what appears to be a fraud on GoFundMe.

Dr. Ayele _ Ethiopian doctor
Dr Ayele, victim of what appears to be GoFundMe fraud. Photo: Screenshot from EBC video

borkena
May 18, 2020

In early May 2020, Ethiopian State Media featured a story about Dr. Ayele Teshome who was born and raised in rural Ethiopia in Merhabete.

Awudeseb is a show on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation that features individuals who have immensely contributed to the betterment of the Ethiopian society and those who have remarkable achievements in life.

Dr. Ayele’s case is not so much about his achievement but rather about his multifaceted effort to give back to his community.

Based on the featured show, it is clear that Dr. Ayele is an embodiment of a noble citizen who strives to selflessly serve his country.

Days after the show, a certain Haikel Shukry launched a “GoFundMe” account to allegedly “help Dr. Aleye” to raise US $50,000.

What is astonishing is that Dr. Ayele was not consulted about it, and he doesn’t even know the person who was trying to raise funds in his name.

Borkena confirmed from a credible source, an Ethiopian who lives in Canada who is a friend of Dr. Ayele, that Dr. Ayele does not even know the person who has launched a  GoFundMe account.

On May 16, 2020, Dr. Ayele posted a message on his community Facebook page saying that a person not known to him has launched a GoFundme campaign on his name.

“I disclose that [The GoFundMe campaign] is never known to me and is without my recognition. It is with great humility that I ask you not to donate any money. I ask those of you who happen to this [message] a favor to share it. Thank you,” he wrote.

Dr. Ayele

The issue is already reported to GoFundMe and the “campaign to help Dr. Ayele” is flagged.

Dr. Ayele wrote another Facebook update on May 18 – this time to thank all those Ethiopians who helped stop the campaign.

Haikel Shukry, the person who tried to organize a fundraising campaign without the knowledge or authorization from Dr. Ayele, identified himself as a resident of Seattle Washington.

$650 was raised before the account was suspended. It is unclear if GoFundMe is refunding the money to the donors.

After GoFundMe suspended the account, “the organizer” wrote 352 words “CLARIFICATION ON THE DONATION,”  which is published in the GoFundMe account he launched. 

It reads as follows :  

“CLARIFICATION ON THE DONATION
Hello every one
My name is Haikel shukry from Seattle Washington I am well respected and active Ethiopian American member of the community also the one who started the charity to the respected Dr Ayele teshome I don’t personally know Dr Ayele i just saw his amazing work like every one of you and touched by it

This morning I just got a contact from someone who happen to see the fundraising and told me that the fundraiser is flagged as fraud I would like to clarify this with every one including Dr Ayele teshome who I sent my contact info to be able to discuss and clarify with him.

The life story of Dr Ayele teshome is a story which I believe personally not only be told as a tv Episode but rather to be helped in any way possible for everything he has done and doing

This is a doctor who went extra mile to give his own blood to his patients when they patient family refuse to do so this is a doctor who is selfless gave all his time and energy for helping out the poor the neglected He has showed this is an ultimate sacrifice and generosity so to sum it up helping this extraordinary physician and to encourage him means simply helping the entire community

If you watched the video he mentioned adding 5 beds in the hospital can dramatically reduce the wait and minimize the waiting period of thousands of patients who required lifesaving surgeries

My goal is The fund collected will be delivered to him 100 Percent
Indeed most of us are touched by his amazing story also frustrated but this is to clarify to all of you that it has no ill intention rather it is out of simple intention to help the doctor and his cause …that is all

This shouldn’t be something to discourage us from doing the right thing ………

Finally I have sent a message to Dr Ayele Teshome to further discuss and sort out this I have provided him my contact to answer all his questions

Thank you”

Mr. Haikel Shukry claims, as seen in his “clarification message,” that he has contacted Dr. Ayele Teshome, in unspecified way and time.

If Mr. Haikel Shukry knows how to launch crowdfunding on GoFundMe, it is unimaginable to think that he does not know that he needs an authorization to launch a campaign on behalf of someone. The case seems to be highly suspicious.

It is unclear if GoFundMe has reported the matter to Seattle Police for an investigation.



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7 Responses to "Seattle man attempted GoFundMe fraud in the name of Ethiopian Doctor"

  1. Ittu Aba Farda   May 19, 2020 at 12:43 am

    This is to the dear editors of this esteemed website. A friend called me yesterday from another state and told me that the fund that was founded right after PM Abiy’s visit here in the USA is in disarray now. He told me that the Diaspora Trust Fund has become a victim by its leadership members misappropriating some of the money that we all chipped in. Is it true? Would you please use your good offices to look into the matter and verify if it is just another rumor? It has rattled me since I heard about it yesterday. We all would appreciate your valuable input.

    Stay safe. Blessings to you and your family!!!

    Reply
  2. Salisawit   May 19, 2020 at 5:30 am

    The Haikel Shukry I know is a very well respected member of Seattle’s Ethiopian business community , he is always contacted to donate money to the Ethiopian community members when emergency need arises and he is always is known to respond generously.

    The Haikel Shukry I know is a college educated wealthy businessman who owns a travel agency , real estate apartment buildings and the famous GUZO Jazz Club in Seattle . He even feeds Ethiopian homeless/Ethiopian poor people for free every day for lunch at Guzo Jazz Club while it was open until the Stay at home order went into effect due to Covid-19, so I cannot picture him trying to take money from GoFundMe, if anything he is the type of person that gives not the other way around.

    Guzo Jazz Club is given top ratings by it’s customers for several years in a row for it’s quality services , the City Of Seattle had also paid Guzo Jazz Club one million dollars twice over the past five years period, in total so far Guzo Jazz Club had received two million dollars from the City of Seattle’s redevelopment agency because it was believed Guzo Jazz Club plays a vital role to redevelop the neighborhood it is in. A couple of years ago there was a huge party at Guzo Jazz Club to celebrate that all mortgage payments were paid off with Haikel owning Guzo Jazz Club fully debt free with no loan to pay to the mortgage lenders anymore. So if we are talking about the same Haikel it must be some sort of misunderstanding .

    Reply
    • Abeshaw   May 19, 2020 at 12:17 pm

      Simple Google search does not show such a club in Seatle.

      Reply
      • Worqu Belayneh   May 19, 2020 at 3:47 pm

        You are right, search of ‘guzo jazz club in Seattle’ comes up empty. Regardless, no person hould try to raise funds by any means without prior authorization from the purported ‘beneficiary’.

        While we are on the topic, there was another “gofundme” campaign purportedly started by Ethiopian medical doctors in the United States to buy and ship protective equipment to hospitals in Ethiopia for the fight against Coronvirus. No identity of individuals who started the campaign. My first reaction was why the group did not work with the Ethiopian Embassy, and which hospitals in Ethiopia authorized the fund raising campaign? Always calm down and ask questions before throwing your money.

        It appears the ‘gofundme’ is a rich venue for scammers to swindle money from otherwise good meaning people. A few months ago, a young unemployed couple in New York (could have been or New Jersey) used ‘gofundme’ to raise over $400,000 purportedly to help a homeless man but they were caught by the police while squandering the money on themselves, like buying a latest BMW. Not sure how much of the money was recovered and/or if the couple was thrown to jail.

        Lesson: be careful before you throw your money, be it to any gofundme or other charities. As is said ‘a scammer or swindler is born every minute’. And hence ‘let buyer be ware’.

        Reply
  3. Ittu Aba Farda   May 19, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    Mr. Haskell might have done this with good intentions but his effort seems to have started in the very wrong way. He may be known to the dear countryman/woman Salisawit but the majority of us have never met him and above all our blessed humanitarian Dr. Adele does not know him. Why did Mr. Haikel launch the campaign in the physician’s name without getting his approval? Again, Mr. Haikel can be 100% honest man but he ended up victimizing himself when he does not have to.

    I will wait until the dear editors of this esteemed website clarify the story for us.

    Thank you dear Salsawit for shading some light on this snafu.

    Reply
  4. tesfaye almseged   May 19, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Please leave the guy alone he started the donations based on what he said good intentions also identified himself on the go fundme platform with his contact and so far I saw he has been transparent updating on the page that he actually contacted and spoke with the dr let is not be judgmental and try to see the positive…side

    Reply
  5. Ittu Aba Farda   May 20, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    This is a perfect example where a person shooting himself in the foot. This man can be a perfectly honest person who did this with a blessed intention in someone else’s name/behalf but without the knowledge/pre-approval of the subject. Wow! Now an innocent is going to live with undeserved stigma and unwanted reputation for a longtime. And it happened during the time when scammers are on the rise and officials are urging the public to be even more vigilant. Now folks in the law enforcement may be coming knocking at his door. From the comments by two members of our Diaspora above who spoke on his behalf, I am beginning to think that Mr. Haikel is an innocent man and really feel for him. I hope he will be able to mend his reputation sooner if not later.

    Reply

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