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‘The lowest': Woman accused of stealing funeral money from her dead friend’s family

The Washington Post The Washington Post 5/04/2016 Sarah Larimer
Tabatha Fauteux. © Courtesy of Fauteux family Tabatha Fauteux.

Guy and Sheila Fauteux’s 26-year-old daughter, Tabatha, died last fall in California.

In the aftermath of her death, the Fauteux family arranged for a celebration of life in New Hampshire, where Tabatha’s parents live, according to WMUR. And their daughter’s friend Krystal Gentley set up an online fundraising account, an apparent effort to help with the funeral expenses.

“I had thought that was nice of her to try to help out, I really did,” Guy Fauteux told WMUR, an ABC affliate.

Friends and family members donated to the fund, Sheila Fauteux told The Washington Post on Tuesday. She spoke with Gentley about the account and offered her thanks.

“I said, ‘This has been a blessing that you’ve done this,’ ” Fauteux said.

But when the celebration of life occurred, Gentley was absent, even though she was expected to attend, the couple told media outlets in New Hampshire.

Then, Fauteux said, she had trouble getting in touch with Gentley, who kept telling her she was busy and was dodging her calls.

Finally, the family went to police.

“I said, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t allow her to get away with that,’ ” Fauteux said.

The Fauteux family eventually got in touch with GoFundMe about the account, according to the Nashua Police Department. That’s when they learned that it was closed — and that the money was gone.

“It’s not the money,” Sheila Fauteux told The Post, “it’s betraying Tabatha, who wasn’t here to stand up for herself.”

Gentley, 26, now stands accused of stealing the money that was supposed to go toward funeral costs. She has been charged with theft by deception, a felony, Nashua police said in a news release, and has been released on bail.

“I was angry; we were both very angry,” Guy Fauteux said, speaking for himself and his wife, during an interview with the Union Leader. “To take advantage of a friend like that is not acceptable.”

Sheila Fauteux said Gentley had a long friendship with her daughter, at one point even living with her.

“It makes me feel nauseous to think that someone could stoop that low,” she said.

According to the Union Leader, police think Gentley took about $5,400 — money that was supposed to go toward transporting Tabatha Fauteux’s body back to the East Coast as well as other expenses, including cremation.

“You can’t go any lower in life, I think, than to do something like that, that was the lowest,” Sheila Fauteux told a CBS affliate. “It just made it harder, it made things go deeper than deep. They were already at their saddest point, but to do what she did was even deeper.”

Gentley is expected to appear in court in May, Nashua police said. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison. It is unclear if whether she has an attorney.

“She should have never done this,” Sheila Fauteux told The Post. “She should have never done this. And you don’t use a deceased person, that’s for sure.”

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