A woman in Iowa has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for faking a pregnancy to swindle $98,850 from a former lover.
The convicted, Johna Loreen Vandermore, 34, is now a married woman in Maquoketa, Iowa.
In 2007, Vandermore had a brief affair with a man who is only identified by initials in court documents. The two met through a dating website and only saw each other a few times. After the relationship ended, Vandermore told the man she was pregnant with his child and he agreed to help support the child with $1,000 monthly payments, reports The Des Moines Register.
The payments were sent to a post office box in Bettendorf, Iowa. The man lives in a Minneapolis, Minnesota, suburb.
Vandermore was actually never pregnant and she collected the monthly child support payments, plus other expenses the man agreed to pay for, which included money for holidays and birthdays, until 2013.
Vandermore even falsified a medical bill in order to get more money.
The man made more than 90 payments to Vandermore between 2007 and 2013 — for a total of $98,850.
In order to keep the rouse going, Vandermore gave the man a fake birth certificate from a hospital that did not exist and sent him photos of her cousin’s daughter and claimed it was their child.
Vandermore’s scam came to a dramatic end when her husband found the monthly checks, reports New York Daily News. She claimed they were from sales she made for a nutritional products company.
The FBI and local police investigated Vandermore’s case.
Vandermore pleaded guilty in federal court to mail fraud in December 2014. She could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Full restitution payments will have to be paid by Vandermore to the victim, in addition to her 18-month prison sentence.
Defense attorney Donovan Robertson argued that Vandermore did initially think she was pregnant, and that prompted her to ask for the payments from the victim. The scheme continued on its “own inertia” after Vandermore discovered she was actually not pregnant.
Robertson said the scheme could have been discovered earlier had the man asked to meet his fake child.
"These things are not intended to foist responsibility of the victim, but, to show the ease with which a house of cards could have been toppled," Robertson wrote in his argument.