A New York bride who faked her battle with terminal cancer in order to receive a free wedding, has been charged with fraud.
Jessica Vega (25), formerly of Montogomery, New York, faces six charges relating to her scam which saw locals rally together to help her create her dream wedding. The mother of one even fooled her husband, Michael O’Connell, into thinking she was dying from leukaemia.
Friends touched by her alleged battle with the disease donated everything from dresses, flowers and a Caribbean honeymoon for the occasion. The couple wed on May 2, 2010 in a reception attended by over 60 family and friends.
However four months later, O’Connell realized his wife had been faking the illness. After he phoned her doctors office and was told she had never been a patient at the surgery. The couple later divorced because of the deception.
"I'm disgusted, I'm enraged. It was all lies," O”Connell told New York Daily News during an interview in 2010.
"I thought she was dying and my goal was to give her everything she wanted before she did…Now, I want to see the truth come out. If that means her going to jail, then let her pay for what she did."
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Vega managed to raise thousands of dollars to pay for her May 2010 wedding and a honeymoon to Aruba.
"By pretending to have a terminal illness, Vega inexcusably took advantage of the community's hearts and minds, and profited off of their generosity," Schneiderman told the Times Herald-Record.
Adding, “Our office will hold this individual accountable for fleecing the public through lies and deception”
Vega was arraigned last Friday and pleaded not guilty to five counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud.