GOSHEN, N.Y. (CBSDC) — An Orange County grand jury has indicted Jessica Vega for lying about having leukemia in order to get others to donate money for her dream wedding and honeymoon.
She even lied to her husband – who subsequently divorced her over her transgression – about her illness.
According to the Times Herald-Record, Vega, 25 and formerly of Montgomery, N.Y., was indicted on five counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud.
It all started in 2010, when Vega published a story in her local newspaper that claimed she was dying of acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that affects bone marrow and white blood cell production.
AML is not commonly seen in women, especially those under the age of 40.
She reportedly told her audience that she wanted to marry her fiance and father of her daughter, Michael O’Connell, before she succumbed to the disease. Friends, family and strangers alike donated money and services toward a lavish wedding and exotic honeymoon.
The couple married in May of that same year, then took their honeymoon in Aruba.
Several months after the nuptials, however, O’Connell noticed that Vega remained healthy. When he brought up his doubts, she initially denied any wrong-doing.
But when he called the office of a Westchester doctor she had reportedly seen for diagnosis and treatment, they told O’Connell that Vega had never been a patient there.
After the couple divorced, O’Connell told the local press and authorities what she had done, launching an investigation into her actions with which he fully cooperated.
They have since reconciled though, for the sake of their daughter. They now allegedly have a second child on the way and live in Virginia.
Vega could be away from home for a long time, however, as the maximum sentence for the felony indictments brought against her is four years.
She was reportedly taken into custody earlier this month in Virginia, then extradited to Orange County and arraigned last Friday. She pleaded not guilty, and was taken to Orange County Jail on a $10,000 cash and $30,000 bond.
Vega is due to appear again in court on April 20.