Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cleveland Radio: WKRK Fires JG Spooner Over Charges

JG Spooner
A former Cleveland sports radio producer and on-air personality is facing criminal charges after police say he stole more than $7,000 from a fundraiser he started for a woman suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Joseph Gerard Spooner, known to listeners of WKRK 92.3 FM The Fan as "J.G. Spooner" funneled every donation made last year to the GoFundMe campaign into his personal bank account, according to

Spooner, 35, now faces a charge of money laundering.  He was fired by 92.3 The Fan earlier this week, according to a spokesman for the station.

Police launched an investigation February after they were tipped off by the family of 35-year-old Allyson Thadeus-Zappe. Thadeus-Zappe, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, died in July 2015.

A group of Thaddeus-Zappe's friends launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign in February 2015 to help her fight the disease. The campaign initially received about $770 in donations.

Later that month, Spooner reached out to Thaddeus-Zappe and her family and offered to help. Spooner, who was a childhood friend of Thaddeus-Zappe, said he wanted to use his status as a local celebrity to increase exposure and boost donations.

Spooner Mugshot
The family agreed, and Spooner re-launched the campaign in his name. Spooner's efforts brought in about $7,300.

The group that ran the original campaign gave Spooner the information to link the GoFundMe account with a "benevolent association" bank account that would transfer the funds to Thaddeus-Zappe. But Spooner never linked the accounts.

The family confronted Spooner several times, and each time he denied that he had the money. Spooner said GoFundMe still had control of the donations. He also offered other excuses, including a busy work schedule and technical problems with his phone and email.

Detectives contacted GoFundMe as part of their investigation and found that he had been banned from the site over a fraud complaint. Investigators on March 24 obtained statements from Spooner's personal bank account and found 37 deposits that matched the dates and dollar amounts associated with GoFundMe donations.

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