In the long history of degenerate scumbags, few are scummier than Jessica Vega, an Upstate woman who faked having cancer to raise money for a wedding and a Caribbean honeymoon. Her plan backfired, though — and now Vega’s been ordered to repay the generous people she scammed out of more than $13,000.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said today that Orange County Court Judge Robert Freehill has ordered Vega, 25, to pay full restitution to her victims to the tune of $13,368. Vega, however, avoided additional jail time after pleading guilty last month to one count each of scheme to defraud in the first degree and criminal possession of a forged instrument — the judge sentenced Vega to time served, which equates to about eight weeks behind bars.
“To prey on people’s emotions by pretending to have a terminal illness
is unconscionable,” Schneiderman says. “I am pleased
that the community members, who felt so compelled to generously help a
neighbor in need, will be given back their hard earned money.”
In spring of 2010, Vega told family and friends that she had terminal
cancer and had only a few months to live. She told people her dying
wish was to have a dream wedding with her baby-daddy Michael O’Connell,
and that she wanted to go to Aruba for the couple’s honeymoon.
Because of her touching story, people in the Mid-Hudson region donated money to help Vega achieve her dying dream.
Vega’s wishes came true — she and O’Connell were married in May of
2010 and the couple honeymooned an Aruba — all on the dime of generous
people who thought they were helping a dying woman go out with a bang.
But then Vega didn’t die, and that cancer she claimed was killing her
disappeared — and that’s because she never had cancer, and she never
was dying. Vega just used a disease that torments millions of families
to rip people off.
In addition to the time served — and the restitution — Vega also was ordered to complete 300 hours of community service.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 23, 2012