Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Untrue . . . Michael O’Connell and Jessica Vega (both 23) are having a rocky start to their union. The couple had a wedding paid for by donors who wanted Jessica to have a picture perfect wedding and honeymoon in Aruba. The reason was Jessica’s terminal cancer and coverage on the heart-breaking account. Michael, however, has now come forward to say that Jessica is not dying and she lied to him as well about her terminal illness.
Michael says that a doctor confirmed that she does not have terminal leukemia. That was the premise of a Times-Herald article that led to the outpouring of donations. Michael says he saw a letter from Dr. Dan Costin and then called him only to learn that no person with his wife’s name was ever a patient of Costin’s.
Jessica still maintains that she is telling the truth — an issue that should be easy to establish in court.
There is an interesting analogy to stolen valor in these cases. I have long been a critic of the Stolen Valor Act, which was recently found unconstitutional. Those of us who oppose the law on constitutional grounds have long argued that the government can and does prosecute anyone who uses false claims to obtain money or benefits under fraud.
I cannot find any record of a criminal case, however, in this case. I assume such charges are in the works.