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Woman faked cancer for lavish wedding

April 10, 2012 2:44:22 PM PDT
Authorities say that a former New York woman pretended to have terminal cancer so she could have a lavish wedding reception and honeymoon.

An Orange County Grand Jury has indicted 25-year-old Jessica Vega, a former Montgomery resident, with grand larceny and scheme to defraud. According to the indictment, Vega accepted thousands of dollars worth of beautiful flowers for her wedding with Michael O'Connell.

"It was just was one lie after the other, and it caught up with her," said Lisa Stoker, a friend and donor.

The lies didn't come cheap for Stoker. She donated two thousand dollars worth of beautiful flowers to Jessica Vega and Michael O'Connell. The former couple got married two years ago, but split soon after when people realized that Jessica allegedly pretended she had terminal cancer in order to score her dream wedding and honeymoon.

"It was very convincing, I mean, she cut off her hair, she shaved her head in spots - and so on. She seemed it," Stoker added.

In fact, her own husband, now ex-husband said at the time, he had no reason to doubt Jessica's story about having a terminal form of leukemia.

"When somebody says they have cancer, you don't expect them to be lying about it," O'Connell said.

Today the O'Connell family is not answering their door in Walkill, but Vega is now facing a seven count indictment in Orange County. New York's Attorney General released a statement saying that, "by pretending to have a terminal illness, Vega inexcusably took advantage of the community's hearts and mind," and that his office, "will hold her accountable for fleecing the public through lies and deception."

As for the jeweler who donated the wedding bands, which were eventually returned, the story is more than bizarre, it's hurtful. Tom Kavanagh's own son survived leukemia 20 years ago.

"There's lots of ways to trick people, why would you do that with cancer? Yeah, it's a pretty hurtful story," Kavanagh said.

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