A New York woman admitted Wednesday that she faked cancer to con donors out of money and services for her wedding and Caribbean honeymoon.
Jessica Vega, 25, isn’t likely to do any time in state prison, court officials said, but she will have to repay $13,368 to her victims and remain in jail until her sentencing on May 15.
She pleaded guilty in Orange County Court to scheming to defraud and possession of a forged instrument charges.
In 2010, Vega spread the word in her Hudson Valley community that she was dying of leukemia and wanted a “dream wedding” to Michael O’Connell, the father of her infant daughter, in the few months she had left.
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.
Vega was living in Montgomery, a town 60 miles north of New York City, when she launched the scam, which picked up steam when her story was featured in a local newspaper, the Times Herald-Record of Middletown.
But after their May 2010 wedding, O’Connell came to the newspaper with questions about her story and the couple divorced.
The forged instrument charge involved a bogus doctor’s letter that Vega gave the newspaper to bolster her story.
She was arrested April 3 in Virginia, where she was again living with O’Connell and their second child.
Vega is expected to be sentenced to time already served in jail as long as she pays the restitution.
“We’re going to make that somehow,” said Vega’s lawyer, Jeremiah Flaherty, adding that O’Connell will help pay back the victims.
“While he blew the whistle on her, at the same time this is the mother of his two children,” Flaherty said.
He said Vega 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.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office prosecuted the case, said the plea means Vega “will be held accountable for fleecing the public through lies and deception.”
“By pretending to have a terminal illness, Vega inexcusably took advantage of the community’s hearts and minds,” he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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