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A McConnells woman has been accused of stealing $10,000 in an online fundraising effort intended to help pay a 21-year-old Mississippi mans medical bills.
Bennie Lynn Clawson, 51, of 2007 Burkin Road is charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent and three counts of forgery, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.
Officials say Clawson set up online internet auctions to help raise money for the man in Hernando, Miss., but she did not give the family all the money that was raised.
Clawsons auction was intended to help pay nearly $2 million worth of medical bills for 21-year-old Banks Ready, who was severely injured in a car crash in Mississippi on May 24, 2012.
His father, George Ready, an attorney and retired circuit court judge in Mississippi, still gets emotional when talking about his sons accident.
A young man with an outgoing personality, Banks has spent nine months recovering from real serious physical injuries and traumatic brain injuries, George Ready said.
Banks Ready, who was airlifted to The Med in Memphis, Tenn., spent a month at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta--a top rehabilitation facility for people with spinal cord and brain injuries.
The car crash also left Banks Ready with a broken right femur, two broken arms and a crushed right elbow.
The family saw an out-pouring of support after his sons accident, Ready said.
Banks is the former American Junior Paint Horse Association president.
The equestrian community around the nation has rallied to help the family raise money to cover medical bills, he said.
Clawson apparently knew someone in the show horse or equestrian social circle, Ready said.
Friends of friends vouched for Clawson as someone to help manage fundraising dollars, he said, and the family had so much on their mind, they didnt think to be suspicious.
Some of the money Clawson raised on the Internet by auctioning off items made it to the family.
But George Ready started getting calls from people who donated items to Clawsons auction in late 2012, saying there were strange things going on, he said.
He brushed it off, he said, because I was getting some of the checks from her.
He contacted Clawson directly in January, George Ready said, and gave her a deadline to be truthful and send all the money raised.
After Clawson missed the deadline, George Ready used her auctions Facebook page to post about inappropriate things going on, he said.
Eventually, he notified local law enforcement who launched an investigation.
York County sheriffs detectives seized several items from Clawsons home that indicated she had taken cash, cashed checks and received monies through a PayPal account that were intended for the George Ready Fund, according to a sheriffs new release sent late Thursday afternoon.
The investigation is ongoing.
Clawson was being held late Thursday afternoon at the Moss Justice Detention Center, according to the sheriffs office website.
In Mississippi, Banks Ready is back at home doing physical therapy three times a week.
Its like raising a little toddler again, his father said. But we have him with us.
Doctors told his family that Banks Ready might not walk again, he said.
George Ready told the doctors, You dont know my son.
I told them, God is in charge, not you guys.
Ten days after doctors said he wouldnt do anything but lay in bed and blink his eyes, Banks Ready started talking.
God gets all the credit for this, George Ready said.
Its going to be years before everything improves as much as it can.
He says God has blessed his family and his son, who has been riding show horses since age 5.
Gods miracles have brought us this far, he said. We have miles to go and with the grace of God, we will get back to where we were.
Anna Douglas - 803-329-4068