GoFundMe has shut down a campaign set up to raise money for Jaap Willem Lijbers, an undocumented Dutch national and self-professed “Boogaloo Boi” arrested in Virginia on weapons and immigration charges.
“Help our Boi and his Daughter,” the solicitation read. “On March 2nd, Homeland Security Investigations decided they had nothing better to do than to pick on a single father who simply wanted to be left alone. He is in the country on an expired visa, which they leveraged against him for an arrest. Now, he needs our help, both for his legal defense and to ensure care for his daughter during this time.”
The campaign was seeking to raise $10,000 and had amassed a total of $515 from four donors when it was taken offline on Thursday, after The Daily Beast inquired about it.
“I can confirm that the fundraiser was removed from the platform because it violated GoFundMe Terms of Service, and all donors have been refunded,” company spokesperson Ese Esan said in an email.
A new fundraiser launched on the site a day after GoFundMe removed the original one was taken down Saturday night. The campaign used a pseudonym for Lijbers that the FBI says he employed online, and had raised $1,600 when it was removed.
Federal authorities say they have tied Lijbers, 26, to the Boogaloo Bois, a far-right extremist movement that wants to overthrow the U.S. government by fomenting a second civil war. He was first identified in July 2020, after the feds opened an investigation into the Boogaloo Bois “based on information that members were discussing committing crimes of violence and were maintaining an armed presence on the streets of Minneapolis during civil unrest following the death of George Floyd,” according to a criminal complaint filed March 2 against Lijbers. Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with killing Floyd, is set to go on trial on March 8.
GoFundMe’s rules prohibit fundraisers for, among other things, "the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind.” It has in the past removed campaigns set up on behalf of beneficiaries such as James Fields Jr., the white supremacist sentenced to life in prison for driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
Last fall, GoFundMe removed a right-wing operative’s fundraiser for spreading false information about the 2020 presidential election having been stolen. After the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, which resulted in five deaths and numerous injuries, GoFundMe banned roughly 1,400 pro-Trump fundraising campaigns that promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud or raising money to pay legal expenses for people accused of participating in the riot, according to BuzzFeed News. To get around the restrictions, some members of extremist groups have turned to alternatives such as GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site that has hosted fundraisers for figures such as Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenage gunman from Illinois accused of killing two people and wounding a third during last summer’s civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Lijbers was a member of a private Facebook group that included Steven Carrillo, a notorious Boogaloo Boi and Air Force sergeant charged in a series of politically motivated cop killings last June, the complaint states. In it, FBI Special Agent Aaron Kellerman said Lijbers had also been in direct contact with Benjamin Ryan Teeter, a North Carolina Boogaloo Boi who in December pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for attempting to provide material support to Hamas, and with Ivan Harrison Hunter, a Boogaloo Boi from Texas charged with rioting after firing 13 rounds from an AK-47 into a Minneapolis police station during the 2020 civil unrest that followed the death of Floyd while being detained by police.
Investigators said Lijbers attempted to travel to Minneapolis to participate but couldn’t get a ride. He then “pivoted” to agitating locally, showing up to protests armed with a pink military-style rifle, according to the complaint. The FBI subpoenaed Facebook records that included messages from Lijbers—using the alias “Marvin Dorners”—to other so-called Boog Bois that they used to figure out his true identity. Immigration records showed Lijbers arrived in the U.S. in 2014 to visit a woman he said he met online, but vastly overstayed his 90-day tourist visa, the complaint says.
In a daytime raid, federal agents searched Lijbers’ Tazewell County, Virginia, home and seized a Radical Firearms RF-15 rifle along with five magazines, one of which was loaded. His public defender, Nancy Combs Dickenson-Vicars, did not respond to a request for comment.
Lijbers is due back in court on March 9.