Police question woman involved in alleged ‘Giving Train’ scam in Tooele

Posted at 6:38 PM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 00:38:04-05

TOOELE, Utah -- A woman in Tooele was questioned by police Wednesday after she allegedly defrauded some good Samaritans participating in a "Giving Train" this holiday season.

One of those donors-turned-victim spoke to Fox 13 news Tuesday, saying he spent hundreds of dollars to provide Christmas for a woman and two boys in need, only to later learn it was all a scam.

“I’m not happy,” said Bryan Delaney, despite hearing the news that Vialpando had been taken in for questioning. “It’s still a sad situation that it had to come to that.”

Delaney said after he dropped off nearly $400 in toys for the kids, Whitney Vialpando blocked him on Facebook and cut off contact, leading him to believe the whole story was made up.

“We did bring Whitney in for questioning today,” said Sergeant Tanya Kalma, with Tooele Police. “She has since been released. Charges will be likely, but it is still an ongoing investigation.”

Police dropped Vialpando back off at her home Wednesday afternoon. Police say they only officially received one report about Vialpando, despite the hundreds of comments from people on the social media post.

“In the future, if you believe you are the victim of a crime or know someone that’s a victim, that should be reported directly to the police first,” Sgt. Kalma said.

While Vialpando declined to speak to Fox 13 News on camera, a man who said he is the father of her child spoke about the issue.

"There's still a lot of good in this county," Patrick Lemongello said. "There's a lot left here. There's so many good people here. I've had support from a ton of people here. But what she did to those people is not right, and it shouldn't be done, ever—should never, ever be done to anybody."

The Facebook Page Tooele County 411 has generated thousands in donations during the Christmas season from ordinary citizens who are just wanting to do something nice for other people in need.