Laurel man charged with fraud by mail

JONES COUNTY, Miss - This is a press release from the Jones County Sheriff's Department.

After a November 8, 2015 auto accident, Brent Michele, 31 of Laurel, contacted the family of the accident victim with an interest in helping. Michele set up a “GoFundMe” account that deposited funds directly into a local bank to help with the victim’s medical expenses, through various fundraisers. The efforts quickly amassed a total over $14,000. Michele began acting suspicious about the money after he claimed his truck had been burglarized on December 8, 2015 and he had in it $1,950 that he had withdrawn from the account for t-shirt expenses. That amount was far short of the actual debt. After a check of the account by the victim, several suspicious withdrawals were listed, all made by Michele. It was also reported that Michele had told a friend he had been gambling on the night the money went missing.

Michele was charged with Fraud by Mail or Other Means of Communication. Upon hearing of the warrant for his arrest, Michele turned himself in to authorities at the Jones County Adult Detention Center.

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