A 25-year-old named Ian Hawes has swindled individuals out of a million dollars who believed they were buying a chance to dine with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Hawes set up a website called dinnerwithtrump.org, which had the appearance of being an official Trump campaign website. The website said individuals could “Enter for a chance for you and a guest to have dinner with Donald Trump. The flight, food & stay are on us.” Individuals were encouraged to enter their personal information to enter for free. However, the website stipulated that those who donated would double their chances to win. The amount which was asked for a donation differed from person to person.
However, no matter what was donated, the individual was not going to have a private dinner with Trump. The fine print on the website, which apparently went unnoticed, clearly stated, “Prize is for winner & guest to attend a Donald Trump fundraising event with other attendees.” The fine print went on to say the winner would also receive airfare and hotel accommodations with a maximum value of $3,600. Essentially Hawes was having a contest to send some lucky winner to attend a Donald Trump fundraiser, which the individuals could have attended themselves without the contest’s intervention.
Hawes is the founder of American Horizons PAC, where all of the donations were officially sent. Individuals who donated were outraged. One swindled donor, Mary Pat Kulina, said, “I feel ripped off and taken advantage of. This is horrible.” Hawes denied he scammed anyone, “The dinner being a scam, I’m completely against that assertion. This isn’t some sort of scam, this isn’t some sort of swindle, we make it very clear to all the folks who donate that we’re not affiliated with the Trump campaign.”
Hawes went on to say he would grant a refund to anyone who asked for one, and that he had already given 110 donors their money back.