The money Lady Gaga offered as a reward for the safe return of her two stolen French bulldogs in February 2021 is the subject of a legal dispute.
Jennifer McBride, the woman who returned the dog, is suing the pop star for not paying her promised $500,000 reward, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
McBride was one of five people detained in connection with the dognapping that took place in Los Angeles and seriously injured Ray Fischer, Gaga’s dog walker.
After the incident, Gaga offered a reward for Koji and Gustav’s safe return “without question.” McBride returned the dog to police two days after the incident, and was subsequently cleared of any involvement in the attack.
However, in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, McBride’s attorneys alleged that Gaga committed breach of contract, false promise fraud, and misrepresentation fraud by failing to pay her compensation.
According to the lawsuit, McBride was reluctant to come forward because she was concerned about being implicated in the crime and didn’t realize she was eligible for the reward until the police department informed her of it.
The complaint also alleges that Gaga’s “no questions asked” offer was misleading because McBride had to provide information and evidence to police in order to claim compensation. , claims that Gaga’s representative told McBride’s attorney that the reward money would be donated to charity, but that no proof of such a donation was provided.
A representative for Gaga has yet to comment on the lawsuit. The singer has previously spoken out about the incident, saying she thanked Fisher for his heroism and appreciated the LAPD’s efforts to arrest the suspect.
One of the Accomplices
However, the story doesn’t end there. According to a recent lawsuit filed by Jennifer McBride, one of the individuals involved in the theft of Gaga’s dogs, the reward offer was made “with the intent to defraud and induce members of the public, such as Plaintiff, to rely upon it and to act upon said promise by locating and delivering Lady Gaga’s bulldogs to Defendants.”
In April 2021, McBride was taken into custody and accused of receiving stolen property as well as one count of being an accessory after the fact. She entered a no contest plea in December, and a two-year probationary period was imposed.
James Howard Jackson, the man who shot Fischer, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder and was sentenced to 21 years in prison the same month. Harold White, another accomplice, pleaded no contest to one count of ex-convict in possession of a gun and is set to be sentenced sometime this year.
The lawsuit filed by McBride is seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress and lost wages, alleging that she was not able to collect the reward money because the police had already arrested the suspects by the time she came into possession of the dogs.
It remains to be seen how the case will unfold, but it raises important questions about the use of reward money in criminal cases.
Reward offers can be a powerful tool in solving crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice. They can incentivize members of the public to come forward with information and lead to the recovery of stolen property or missing persons. However, as this case demonstrates, they can also be a source of controversy and potential fraud.
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In 2021, the incident happened.
“My beloved dogs Koji and Gustav were taken in Hollywood two nights ago. My heart is sick and I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness,” she wrote on Instagram, alongside photos of the dogs.
The news of the theft spread quickly, and Gaga’s fans and the public rallied to help find the missing dogs. The LAPD also launched an investigation into the theft, and a $500,000 reward was offered for the safe return of the dogs, no questions asked.
Days went by with no news of the dogs, and Gaga made an emotional plea on social media, begging for their safe return. “If you bought or found them unknowingly, the reward is the same. I will pay you $500,000. You can email me to let me know,” she said in a video message.
Then, on February 26, five days after the theft, the LAPD announced that Koji and Gustav had been found and safely returned to Gaga’s representatives. A woman had turned the dogs into a police station after recognizing them from the media coverage of the theft.
The LAPD later confirmed that the woman had no involvement in the theft and was not eligible for the reward money.
In a statement, Lady Gaga expressed her gratitude to the LAPD and the woman who had returned her dogs. “I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero,” she wrote on Instagram. “And to our beloved Koji and Gustav, I miss you both so much. I will always love you.”
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Lady Gaga is one of the most iconic and versatile artists of our time, known for her powerful vocals, bold fashion choices, and boundary-pushing performances. Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in New York City in 1986, Gaga began playing the piano at a young age and went on to study at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
In 2008, Gaga burst onto the music scene with her debut album, “The Fame,” which featured hit singles like “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” and “Bad Romance.” Her unique sound, coupled with her avant-garde fashion sense and provocative music videos, quickly made her a pop culture sensation.
Over the years, Gaga has continued to evolve as an artist, experimenting with different genres and collaborating with a diverse range of musicians and producers. She has won numerous awards, including multiple Grammys, and has been praised for her advocacy work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups.
In addition to her music career, Gaga has also made a name for herself as an actress, appearing in films like “A Star is Born,” for which she won a Golden Globe, and “American Horror Story,” for which she won an Emmy.
She has also used her platform to speak out on a wide range of social and political issues, including mental health, sexual assault, and climate change.
Photo: Page Six