Money taken from Addie charity account
Payson monument company offers to build headstone at no charge
FOUNTAIN GREEN—The owner of a Payson monument company is softening the blow for Tami Lyn Fausett, who up to now has been unable to put a headstone on her daughter’s grave because someone who purported to be helping her apparently stole $20,000 from a Little Addie charity account.
Addie Fausett died in July, 2016 from a rare illness. Two years earlier, she became a national sensation when her grandmother appealed for Christmas cards for what the family believed would be Addie’s last Christmas. She received nearly 200,000 cards, along with hundreds of toys and other gifts. The family also received cash donations.
After Addie died, the family realized that about $20,000 of funds raised for Addie’s medical care and final expenses had disappeared from the fundraising account.
James Fowlke Richards, 46, of Pleasant Grove is charged with crimes in connection with the missing money, including three counts of communications fraud (second-degree felonies) and one count of forgery (a third-degree felony).
In court filings, Utah County prosecutors allege that Richard used fake documents to seek reimbursement for Addie’s medical expenses from nonprofit organizations.
The documents also say Richards set up a Go-Fund-Me web page in behalf of Addie and kept much of the money donated.
According to the court filings, Richards “admitted that he had used at least some of the money he had received inappropriately.”
The Fausett family says they thought Richards was a friend who was trying to help out. They never imagined he could steal from them.
With the money gone, Addie has had to rest in peace with no headstone. Her mother visits her grave in the Nephi Vine Bluff Cemetery nearly every day, but the only evidence of where her daughter is buried is the flowers and memorial items left at her grave.
Recently, Jared Antonino, owner of Heritage Memorials in Payson, offered to build a custom headstone for Addie’s gravesite at no charge. Antontino says he hopes the headstone will provide some closure for Addie’s family.
Addie’s mother is encouraging people to help cover Antonino’s time and materials. To reach Antonino, visit http://www.heritagememorials-utah.com.
Richard’s case is still pending, but if convicted, he faces up to 50 years in prison.