A New York bride bamboozled well-meaning neighbors out of thousands of dollars in cash when she lied about dying of leukemia and said her last wish was a beautiful wedding, prosecutors said today.
State prosecutors say that Jessica Vega, 25, lied about dying from cancer just to get freebies and donations to enjoy a lavish wedding and Aruba honeymoon in 2010.
The state's top prosecutor criticized her in a statement today. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Vega posed as a "dying bride" while defrauding fellow community members out of thousands of dollars.
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Vega is accused of claiming that she had leukemia and soliciting donations for her last wish, which she said was to get married to the father of her child.
Schneiderman announced today that Vega, formerly a Montgomery, N.Y., resident, about 75 miles upstate, was indicted on multiple charges of fraud and grand larceny.
“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 said. “Our office will hold this individual accountable for fleecing the public through lies and deception.”
After the wedding, Vega's husband -- they have since reportedly divorced -- confessed the scam to the Times Herald-Record, which had also covered her "illness" before their wedding.
Michael O'Connell said he was preparing for his wedding and his wife's death, but later found out the preparations for her funeral were no longer necessary. He told the newspaper that a doctor's note was faked.
O'Connell said she should pay back the money, according to the New York Post, but shouldn’t go to jail – instead, he suggested, she should get mental health treatment.
She could face up to four years in prison, Schneiderman said.