As someone who writes and reads about Facebook scams all the time, it’s not really a surprise to me when I hear a story about someone lying for personal gain, sometimes even keeping up several false identities at once to corroborate their story (see the film “Catfish” if you haven’t already). Various media outlets are great resources for scammers, but it’s not just limited to the interwebs.
Jessica Vega says she told her boyfriend, Michael O’Connell, that she had a rare form of leukemia to keep him from leaving her a single mom, and the two eventually married with O’Connell thinking Vega only had six months to live. Vega’s story went big in their hometown, landing her in a local newspaper that garnered thousands of dollars in sympathetic donations. She was later busted and charged with scheming to defraud and possession of a forged instrument, and served two months jail time.
The “possession of a forged instrument” charge is of particular interest here, because Vega now says she had help with her plan; a friend forged letters from doctors detailing her “cancer treatments”, which she signed. Though she won’t disclose who helped her, Vega says the person isn’t in her life anymore. She says she regrets her decision to lie to so many people who showed her kindness and has since repayed the $13,000 given to the couple for their wedding and honeymoon.
“I’m well aware that there’s no way that I’m ever going to be able to make it up to people, at the end of the day,” she said. “All I can offer is my humble apologies.”