Woman steals $821,000, wants the crowd to pay it back

A woman pleads guilty to stealing $821,000 from her employer and spending the money on trips and jewelry. So she goes on to the Go Fund Me site to crowdsource the payback. Thus far, she has raised $290.

So very sad. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When you see a downtrodden human, crying at the side of the road, do you wander over and ask what's wrong?

When you hear of someone who's lost love, do you offer them your ear and even your sofa?

How about when you hear that someone has embezzled $821,000 from their employer? Do you search in all your bank accounts and see if you have, say, $821,000 lying around and offer it with altruistic glee?

This apparently random question isn't quite so random. It's inspired by the case of Renata Shamrakova, who wants you to help her with her woes.

As the Daily Mail reports, she admitted to creating two American Express cards in the name of her boss -- said to be hedge fund manager Todd Meister. With these fine cards, she booked rather exotic trips to far away places. She bought herself jewelry too.

Now she must start paying the money back or she has to go to jail.

What do modern criminals do in such circumstances? Why, they try to crowdsource their way out of the problem.

Shamrakova has created a page on Go Fund Me. She would like you to go there and give her money.

There are those who might think "Money For Nothing" was her favorite song.

Shamrakova knows there might be a little backlash. However, she wants you to understand that she's merely an upstanding citizen who fell upon bad times.

She writes: "I was in a vulnerable state, financially and emotionally, and lines of propriety got blurred. I made mistakes in judgment that ultimately lead to my plea deal in March 2013, this was the surest way to avoid prison time."

Is there anything worse than blurred lines of propriety. Or property, even.

Still, $821,000 does seem to represent a rather large mistake in judgment. This despite her tale of pain that includes an alleged heart condition and parents who are prepared to sell their own home to finance some of the money.

Crowdsourcing is now becoming popular for those who already have significant amounts of money. Spike Lee is the latest film personality -- following the likes of Zach Braff and Kristen Bell -- to attempt to Kickstart a little funding .

So who could not feel wells of sympathy for the allegedly penniless, looking for a benefactor? Or 800,000 of them, perhaps.

You, however, must decide whether you will be the shamrock that Shamrakova is searching for or whether you believe that the truest part of her name is the first syllable.

At the time of writing, she has raised $290. The New York Daily News says she has until December 20 to find $425,000.

Shamrakova told the Daily News that if she raises more money than she needs, she will dedicate the remainder to a company that puts women to work in Africa.

There's nothing like paying it forward, is there?

 

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