Ian Hawes, a 25-year-old Maryland man who has no affiliation with Trump or his campaign has collected more than $1 million by scamming more than 20,000 donors who believed they were supporting Trump’s Campaign.
Hawes’ website, dinnerwithtrump.org looks virtually indistinguishable from Trump’s campaign website, donaldjtrump.com. Both websites feature a photo of Donald Trump, in a suit and red tie, in front of a American flag, and both offer a chance for two to win dinner with Republican presidential candidate..
In the first three weeks the website was in operation, Hawes’ PAC spent more than $108,000 on Facebook ads, and federal records show that the fake opportunity to win “Dinner with Donald Trump” landed Hawes nearly $350,000 in donations.
Since its launch, the PAC has collected more than $1 million, It has reportedly spent $0 on behalf of Trump, and $133,000 raised went to CartSoft LLC, a company that Hawes founded and owns.
Those who donated to the website thinking they were benefiting the Trump campaign feel like they have been scammed.
“I feel ripped off and taken advantage of. This is horrible. That was not my intent,” said Mary Pat Kulina, who owns a paper-shredding company in Maryland and gave $265 to Hawes’ group. Kulina thought she had given to Trump’s campaign. “This is robbery,” she said. “I want my money back and I want them to add up what they stole from people and give it to Donald Trump.”
John McQueen, who owns a funeral home in Florida, remembered seeing the ad in his Facebook feed. “I had planned to give a thousand bucks to his campaign, and when my wife saw it also on her Facebook feed she said, ‘Why not do this?’” he recalled.
He gave $1,015 in late June.
While Hawes has stated, “We use the money that we collect in a way that we feel best creates value for the people who have donated to us,” this doesn’t exactly appear to be true.
On Hawes’ personal Facebook page he posted that he got engaged in mid-August “on the bow of the yacht overlooking Miami.”
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