Cancer, cornhole and the conman who got cornered

- This is Randy, he's been dealt a bad hand - but he has lots of friends who support him.

"I just want to thank you all," he said at a fundraiser his friends threw for him.

"He's a super nice guy," said his friend Josh.

"He had three, four months to live,” said his friend Bethany.

Randy's friends have been preparing for the end - but this story has an ending none of them saw coming.

The Mutha Shuckers Cornhole Club competes in this bean bag tossing sport all over Michigan. Earlier this year, member of the group got devastating news.  one of their players told them he had only months to live.

"He had stage 4 lung cancer," said Bethany.

Bethany took the news hard when Randy Gardner told everyone the sad diagnosis.

"The day that he found out he had cancer he called me and i broke down in tears," she said.

They started a GoFundMe page and money started coming in. In May, Mother Shuckers team leader Josh rented a hall and held a big fundraiser where Downriver businesses donated their time, food and prizes.  Cornhole teams from all over came to donate, compete and honor Randy, who at age 49 likely wouldn't even make it to 50.

But he made it and even gave a speech.

They say in all, Randy accepted tens of thousands of dollars in donations.  But then, people started to get suspicious.

"I've had a handful of people come up in the last month and a half saying he's looking fine," one friend said. "He's not looking sick or anything, and I had no reason not to believe him, believe he had it, so I kind of brushed people off like ...."

WOLCHEK: "How dare you!"

"Exactly."

But now, after confronting their friend and teammate, the cornhole players found out there wasn't a kernel of truth to Randy's story.  

They say they filed a police report and Randy took off. No one's heard from him for a week until I find him walking the streets near his mother's home in Washington Township.

WOLCHEK: "You're Randy right?"

RANDY: "Yep."

WOLCHEK: "Tell me a little about this cancer fundraiser they held for you?"

RANDY: "Pardon me?"

WOLCHEK: "Tell me about this cancer thing?"

RANDY: "Oh, I'm not going to say anything right now.  I'm going to turn myself in pretty quick."

WOLCHEK: "Why did you do this to these people?  I've talked to them and they're pretty upset over it."

RANDY: "It was a bad thing I did. That's all I'm going to say."

Remember, people raised thousands of dollars because he said he had terminal cancer.

WOLCHEK: "So what do you want to tell the people that donated money to you?"

RANDY: "That my life goal is to pay them back. My life goal is to pay them back."

WOLCHEK: "What did you do with the money?"

RANDY: "Um, it was spent here and there.  I have nothing to show for it because it was spent. I'm not going to say exactly where it was spent.  I have nothing to show for it.  I have a pair of headphones."

WOLCHEK: "They thought they were going to lose their friend to cancer and instead they lost their friend to deception."

RANDY: "I'm sitting here talking to you. I could have run."

Randy says he's sorry but he appears to be nothing more than a cancer conman.

WOLCHEK: "So you're okay, you're healthy?"

RANDY: "Yeah, I'm fine. I wish I wasn't some days."

WOLCHEK: "Everybody said they really liked you. They made nice videos for you. They made T-shirts for you. They loved you like family and you really screwed them"

RANDY: "Yes.  They were beautiful and I broke their trust and I'll pay for that for the rest of my life."

WOLCHEK: "OK. Get it together man."

WEB UPDATE (10/2/18): GoFundMe has released a statement about what was exposed as a fraudulent account.

"Our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get refunded. Additional information can be found here: www.gofundme.com/safety

"This campaign violated GoFundMe’s terms of service. We will be issuing refunds to all donors, and will cooperate with Law Enforcement."
 

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