Despite escaping the cultlike grasp of the so-called QAnon Queen of Canada months ago, two of her closest former followers had their bank accounts closed and say they may lose their children’s college funds after working for their former sovereign.
On Sept. 3, Corey and Daisy, who are married, received a letter in the mail from their bank that said they were now “an unacceptable risk” and their accounts would be closed. Earlier in the year, Romana Didulo, the self-described “queen,” had used their bank accounts to raise over a hundred thousand dollars for the cross-country RV tour of Canada she’s currently on.
After opening accounts at a new bank, Daisy said the institution told her she could lose as much as $8,000 CAD ($5,952 USD) in government contributions from their education savings plans. They’re trying to fight it but don’t have high hopes.
“I'm probably going to lose my children's education fund because of it,” Daisy, who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her children from retribution, told VICE News. “We weren't prepared for that happening. It is horrible because she [Didulo] cost us money.”
For months, Didulo used the couple as her personal bank account. The queen either can’t or refuses to use her own. Since she was kicked off typical crowdfunding sources, like GoFundMe, her followers have to send donations via electronic transfer. She posted Daisy’s email on Telegram numerous times—without permission, according to Daisy—and asked followers to send money to her account.
"She would just do it. She's the queen, so she doesn't need to ask permission from anyone or ask me if it’s OK,” Daisy said. “What was I supposed to say? I was already committed at that point.”
In total, Didulo raised more than $142,000 CAD ($105,726 USD) during a two-month period earlier this year, according to documents seen by VICE News. And she spent even more, including tens of thousands on hotel rooms paid for in her followers’ names. They once kept a $300-a-night room booked just in case Russian President Vladimir Putin showed up.
Didulo was initially a low-level QAnon influencer and came to prominence after the titular Q, the movement’s central figure, went quiet. She stepped into the power vacuum and gained a sizable following by framing herself as an active participant in the conspiracy, although she remains a fringe figure. Since then, Didulo has managed to convince hundreds of people across the globe that she’s the true Queen of Canada, waging a secret war against pedophilic, globalist elites. Experts have even called her group a cult. She’s now in the midst of a seemingly never-ending tour of Canada, holding small meet-and-greets in parking lots and spreading the word of their mission.
The excursion hasn’t been cheap. Didulo needed to rent or buy several RVs, pay for gas, and feed her “staff,” the rotating cast of a dozen or so followers living with her on the road. She also advertises buying groceries for less fortunate members or sending threatening and fake cease-and-desist letters regarding COVID-19 health regulations. Didulo’s followers were almost always sending donations for her causes, according to Daisy and Corey. But the need for funds accelerated when the queen took herself offline and hit the road on Jan. 29 of this year.
“Thank you everyone for contributing to Queen Romana's Convoy,” Didulo wrote shortly before the convoy set off. “I was informed we raised $25,000 in 35 minutes time.”
Many of her followers, however, don’t have much to give. Last year, the queen declared all utilities free and told her followers to stop paying their bills. Now, some are having their power shut off or incurring mounting late fees. And even as their queen refuses to answer their pleas for help, the donations still roll in.
“She's scamming the people into supporting her movement,” Daisy said. “She's telling people to stop paying your bills because you don't need to… but she’s saying, ‘You can send money to me.’”
“She’s scamming the people into supporting her movement.”
"Some people will say, ‘I did send her money last month, but I can't afford it this month. I'm so sorry,'" said Christine Sarteschi, an extremism researcher who follows Didulo closely. "But there is a willingness among at least a critical mass of people, her followers, who are willing to send her a decent amount of money."
Just recently, Didulo’s followers were tricked into donating over $6,000 CAD ($4,467 USD) when an account under the name “Roger Stone,” one of former President Donald Trump’s closest advisers, promised to match their donations. Stone, however, denied any involvement in the fundraising effort and called it a “scam.” The account has since gone dark without matching any of the funds.
But it’s not just donating; some of Didulo’s followers even actively try to raise money for her. Earlier in the summer, a woman traveling with her started a fundraiser called the “We the People’s Challenge” to pay off Didulo’s new RV “as fast as possible.” It’s not clear how much she raised, but the queen’s followers donated for months.
The woman in charge of the “We the People’s Challenge” and 11 or so others currently on the road with Didulo gave up their personal lives to live with her in the convoy. Some even left children at home. They all wear the same clothes—white shirts emblazoned with “QR,” for Queen Romana—and believe their sovereign to be an alien from a different dimension with futuristic healing technology. In a recent video where her followers spoke of why they joined, several said they were on a spiritual mission.
During her time in the convoy, Daisy was Didulo’s bank account. She rented RVs on her own credit card and agreed to handle the money transfers for Didulo. But Daisy and Corey left the convoy at the end of March after what they say was months of emotional abuse, including several death threats. Now, Didulo is using another one of her most devoted followers, the group’s driver, as her bank account.
“To those who don’t have time to go out and buy stuff, you are welcome to send money via e-transfers, PayPal or Wise.com, to [her driver’s email account],” she recently wrote before her planned excursion to the northern part of Canada. A lot of the RV purchases and rentals are going on his and other follower’s credit cards, according to Corey.
Didulo even instructs her followers on what question and answer to include in their donations: "Who is the commander-in-chief of the Kingdom of Canada?" The answer, of course, is "Queen Romana.”
Jess Davis, the president of Insight Threat Intelligence, who writes a newsletter on extremist financing, said these donations should be immediately suspicious to Canada’s financial intelligence agency Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
That’s likely why Corey and Daisy’s bank accounts were closed.
“It's a very common method that financiers and money launderers use to distance themselves from the money," Davis said. "I'm not suggesting that she's doing terrorist financing or money laundering, but, like, this is what it's going to look like to the bank.”
“It's against most bank’s terms of service to be doing this kind of activity—to be conducting financial transactions on the behalf of someone else,” she added. “So again, it's really kind of astonishing to me that his [the driver’s] account is still open.”
Daisy and Corey shared documents with VICE News breaking down how much was raised and spent during their time with Didulo. Daisy said Didulo raised a total of $142,325 CAD ($105,957 USD) from January 31 to March 29—and all but $1,300 CAD of that came via e-transfer from her followers. The rest was in-person cash donations.
The group also spent almost as much as they raised—$13,214 CAD on fuel alone and $26,703 CAD to rent vehicles. The documents also show hotel charges in her followers' names, to the tune of $37,000 CAD. Didulo also purchased a new laptop, a juicer, and clothes. She also ran up a phone data bill of almost $3,500 CAD in those 67 days.
Didulo and many of her followers did not respond to numerous requests for comment, but she did mention a VICE News reporter wanting to talk to her and her followers in a recent livestream.
It’s safe to say the group’s expenses haven’t dropped significantly since Corey and Daisy left the convoy. Didulo purchased an RV, as reported by the group, for $65,000 CAD, and has added even more “staff.” The group is also hoping to add another RV to their arsenal, but this one will be purchased by one of her closest followers and then “rented” to the group.
While Didulo’s finances before she left on the journey are unclear—she and her “press secretary” ignored multiple requests for comment—she doesn't seem to have been the most affluent queen. Corey and Daisy told VICE that they once picked her up at a “pigsty” of a room she rented in the attic of a boarding house. In a previous livestream, she spoke of being homeless and needing to sleep on the floor of her friend's nail salon.
Now, the convoy is Didulo’s home, and she doesn't seem to want the journey to end, ever. And the only way to keep it afloat is to get her followers to send her more and more money.
"I think this would all end if people didn't give them money," Sarteschi said. "She needs it to operate. It's the only way she can continue. Without followers and money, she would be nobody."
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