NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — She got a $1,200 wedding dress for free, but now there are reports that 23-year-old Jessica Vega, of Yonkers, faked cancer to get a discounted wedding.
After claiming she had leukemia and less than a year to live, Vega was the recipient of sympathy and good will from members of her community. Vega said she wanted to marry her fiancée and be with the couple’s baby daughter before she passed away.
Generous strangers in Middletown donated the wedding rings and wedding flowers in addition to the dress.
Over the weekend, Vega’s husband said the entire story was based on a lie. Michael O’Connell told the Times Herald-Record that he believes his wife never had a terminal illness — citing a letter from Dr. Dan Costin stating her diagnosis was fake.
Furthermore, the paper reported that when O’Connell called Costin’s Westchester office, he was told that Vega was “never a patient here.”
Bella Couture Dress Bridal Shop provided the Mona Lisa Royale dress for nothing.
“You can’t help but to feel betrayed and you know scammed by someone who would say that they are dying from a terminal illness,” shop owner Gina Verdes told WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi.
However, Verdes said she wouldn’t think twice about helping someone in the future.
“You can’t be soured by it. We still did the right thing. We gave to someone in need and that’s what you do as good people and good business — you give to other people in need,” Verdes said.
O’Connell has filed for divorce and is seeking full custody of the couple’s now 1-year-old daughter.