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January 22, 2012

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF AN INDIE BLOGGER -OR- HOW AN INDIE MERCHANT SCAMMED US, TWICE!

A beloved Indie Community Blogger has scammed us...once again! It is very sad that people who are trying to support Indie (Independent) companies (like those found on Etsy) are vulnerable to disreputable people who are out to make their money in a less than honest way. Please read more to find out who scammed us, and how!

Gina Silva, who's list of AKAs is enormous recently started a venture called Awesome Box. It was a great idea, although it is already being done by a few others. The premise was to have indie companies donate samples, and each month she would send a box of these to people who purchased the box for a modest price. It is a great way for Indie companies to advertise and get new customers, and for the customers to try new products before they buy, while supporting and promoting Indie companies.



Ms. Silva, Taken from her Photobucket 

Here is the interesting part. After the first month's orders were placed, and it was a sell-out, said Gina Silva disappeared! We didn't know her as Gina Silva. We knew her as Georgiana Grey, which she said was her given name. She had a blog that we followed faithfully, called Le Gothique. It was filled with interesting articles on make up, style, and some crafty things she had made. When she disappeared the blog was deleted. No one was warned, and many people never received their boxes, even though they had paid for them.


The drama sparked an interest in her history, and what I found was quite disturbing. This is not the first time she has disappeared however, the last time she faked her own death! She was previously the owner of an Etsy shop called Socktopia. Her husband (supposedly) posted that she had died from complications of Lupus. You can read her obituary posted on Ravelry, a crochet and knitting forum, here: http://www.ravelry.com/twir/3/In-Memoriam-Gina-Silva


There were donations sent in to help her family, and she, disguised as her husband, continued to sell her patterns through her Etsy shop, stating that the proceeds would go to the Lupus Foundation.



 The trouble of all of this, not to mention all the laws she has broken, is two-fold. Nothing is in place to stop her from repeating her scam, and secondly, it promotes distrust among purveyors of Indie shops and merchants.


I create jewelry and many different arts and crafts for my own pleasure. I do not sell anything, but I try my best to buy my supplies from Indie shops. I have never experienced a problem. Most items ship quickly and live up to my expectations. After my experience with Gina Silva, do I need to background check every shop and owner I buy from? My answer is No. I will continue to support Indie shops, hopefully the dishonesty of Gina Silva is an isolated event.


I do think this story deserves further investigation. She should not be allowed to scam trusting people over and over again without consequence. I certainly hope she likes small places, with this type of behavior it seems like there is a jail cell with her name on it if there is any justice in this crazy world.



There is a lot of information surfacing on the web. I did some of my research from a post by Luna of Toxid-Lotus.net.  (Thanks for the info Luna!)  There you will find many links to articles about Ms. Silva, in addition to the long list of her AKAs. Interestingly enough, shortly after the links were posted, many of them were deleted from the internet. I guess she is still alive after all!

Happy Indie Shopping!
Love and Hugs!

Jillie



6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link and thanks for posting about this. I hope more bloggers do. It needs to get out as much as possible so if she does pull this in the future hopefully she won't be able to get away with it for a few years again before people realize it's her.

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  2. I totally agree! I sent it to CNN. No telling if they will post it or not, but wouldnt that be interesting!?

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  3. If she took money and didn't send the products, that is mail fraud. Someone who was ripped off needs to file a complaint with the Postmaster General-- it's a federal offense.

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  4. In addition to filing mail fraud people that did not get a package or refund should submit a report to ic3 (internet crime complaint center). The fact that she's scammed before makes me unwilling to give her the benefit of doubt.

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