A New York woman admitted Wednesday that she faked cancer to scam donors out of money to pay for her wedding and Caribbean honeymoon.
25-year-old Jessica Vega will likely not face time in state prison, but will be ordered to repay $13,368 in restitution to her victims and she will have to remain in jail until her sentencing on May 15.
Vega appeared in court in Orange County to plead guilty to scheming to defraud and possession of a forged instrument charges.
In the spring of 2010, she started telling people that she had leukemia and had only a few months to live. She asked for a “dream wedding” to Michael O’Connell, the father of her infant daughter. Donors stepped up with rings, an embroidered wedding dress and a time-share in Aruba for the honeymoon. Other contributions included food, wine and hairdressing.
The couple was married in May 2010 and went to Aruba for the honeymoon with expenses paid for by members of the local community touched by her story.
“By pretending to have a terminal illness, Vega inexcusably took advantage of the community’s hearts and minds, and profited off of their generosity,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told reporters.
“Now that this individual has pleaded guilty to committing this fraud, she will be held accountable for fleecing the public through lies and deception.”
Vega’s lawyer, Jeremiah Flaherty said she is sorry for what happened and hopes the people who showed her kindness aren’t disillusioned or less likely to help others in the future.
“She got caught up in something and it just got out of hand,” Flaherty said.