Rebecca Rodriguez and her co-conspirators, P Ooi Holmes and Alycia Barlow started a GoFundMe in December 2017. The fundraiser was started specifically to supposedly help the “starving sun bears of Bandung Zoo” in Indonesia.
The entire premise of this fundraiser was a blatant, bold-faced lie. There was never any intention to assist Bandung Zoo or it’s animals. The entire plan was to turn the “rescue of these sun bears from Indonesia to a sanctuary in the USA” into a big feature film, for the direct benefit and profit of Rodriguez and Rodriguez alone. The public, the donors and the general animal welfare community had absolutely no idea that this was the real purpose for her fundraising activities.
They donated. Everyone was lead to believe that (a) the sun bears of Bandung Zoo were starving and (b) Rodriguez was swooping in as some kind of kind-hearted demi-god to help them, by her own words, provide enrichment, food and enclosure upgrades.
Throughout her campaign, Rodriguez repeatedly told everyone that the funds would be used for the animals, after her “expert team” were paid.
A total of $65,000 USD was ultimately raised via the GoFundMe plus additional monies were paid directly to Rodriguez via her company RebRod LLC.
Then it emerged that the sun bears of Bandung Zoo received $0. Not in the form of donations, food, veterinary care, medicine, equipment, enclosure upgrades etc. Not 1 cent, not 1 Dollar. Rodriguez, now ousted by Bandung Zoo for fraud, simply disappeared back into oblivion, returning to the USA. Throughout the fundraiser, Rodriguez was repeatedly questioned about her intentions and the missing donations. She used every excuse in the book and after a year or two, people forgot all about it.
What did Rodriguez actually spend the $65,000 USD on? Firstly she paid her “expert team” which is actually just a group of her random friends. Then she and her best friend Alycia Barlow toured Europe and other parts of the USA including Puerto Rico, Mexico, Italy, Greece and Germany. What was she doing? She was capturing raw footage of “animal rescuers and animals” that she could turn into a series for her own personal YouTube channel. The series was going to be called “Lights, Camera, Animals” but we called her out on that one too and it was shut down because after careful dissection Rodriguez was attempting to bamboozle people with carefully crafted wording – again!