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Man accused of stealing from benefit admits wrongdoing, but says he’s no thief

MOLINE, Illinois -- A man who was accused of stealing money from a fundraiser says he is no thief, but admits he did something wrong.

On Monday, October 8, WQAD News 8 aired the story of a grieving Davenport mother who said a man used her dead son's name to steal thousands of dollars from dozens of people. Two days later that man, Gordie Morrow, decided he wanted to come clean and make it right.

In an interview with News 8's Elizabeth Wadas, Morrow admitted he did something wrong, but he said he is not a thief.

Back in July of 2018 a 19-year-old man, Drew Morgan, was killed in a motorcycle crash at the corner of Division Street and 53rd Avenue.  Gordie Morrow, a family acquaintance, had the idea to raise money for the 19-year-old's family.  It was also Morrow's idea to not give the benefit money to the family like he originally said he would.

The reason?

"For the simple fact that they didn't deserve it. The family seemed overly concerned about money," said Morrow.

When asked if that was fair to make that decision, Morrow said it was not.

"It was a bad call on my behalf," Morrow said.

According to Drew Morgan's mother, Morrow told the family that the benefit brought in more than $4,200.  Morgan's family, however, said they never saw a penny of it.

Morrow said he tried to send a check for $2,100 to a Davenport funeral home, Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home, to cover some of the cost of services. According to Morrow, the check was mailed back. The funeral directer, though, says they never received that money from him.

When asked why he then didn't then hand deliver it to the funeral home, Morrow admits it was something he should have done but didn't.

Instead, Morrow said he started contacting people he knew who donated that day to return the money to them.

Everything left over, according to him, he hand delivered a check to the funeral home on Tuesday, October 11, 2018. The check was for $849.

Morrow said the rest of the $2,100 was given back to people who bought silent auction items at the benefit.

Three months after the benefit - and two days after a report about the situation aired on WQAD News 8 - Morrow's trying to fix a situation he said snowballed out of control.

"I wish things could have been different. I truly do," he said. "I'm sorry it's come down to this."

Morrow said this was the 21st benefit he's personally held, and he said this one was his last.  He hopes this last check to the funeral home puts an end to the situation.

"I don't know if it makes it right, but it takes the load off of me for people thinking I'm some thief," says Morrow.

Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home confirmed Morrow did drop off a check for $849 on Thursday. But we have not confirmed if anyone else got money returned to them like Morrow said.

As for the $4,200 that was purportedly unaccounted for, Morrow tells News 8 that only half of that was actually raised.  He said originally, a group was going to match the fundraiser amount, but that never happened.