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Woman indicted for allegedly posing as cancer-stricken bride

By Jordana Ossad, CNN
updated 10:17 PM EDT, Tue April 10, 2012
Jessica Vega is accused of lying about having cancer and bilking people out of thousands of dollars to pay for her wedding and honeymoon.
Jessica Vega is accused of lying about having cancer and bilking people out of thousands of dollars to pay for her wedding and honeymoon.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jessica Vega, 25, was arrested last week in Virginia
  • She has been indicted on fraud and grand larceny charges
  • She could face up to 24 years behind bars if convicted

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A New York woman is facing multiple fraud and larceny charges for allegedly pretending she had terminal cancer to get thousands of dollars from sympathetic donors to pay for an over-the-top wedding and honeymoon, according to a court statement released Tuesday.

Jessica Vega, 25, who was arrested last week in Virginia and later brought to New York, has been indicted on fraud and grand larceny charges and one misdemeanor in the alleged ruse.

She could face up to 24 years behind bars if convicted.

Vega is suspected of fabricating the tale to con sympathizers into buying her gifts and giving her money, according to a statement from the New York Attorney General's Office.

Officials said the scheme lasted from January 2010 to June 2010 and involved eliciting gifts from a bridal couture shop and a high-end restaurant.

It is not clear how much money the alleged scheme netted, but it is believed to be in the thousands of dollars, said Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Jennifer Givner.

"By pretending to have a terminal illness, Vega inexcusably took advantage of the community's hearts and minds, and profited off of their generosity," said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Vega was married in May 2010 and allegedly "went to Aruba for her honeymoon with expenses paid for by members of the mid-Hudson community touched by her story," the statement said.

The man Vega married, who was not named in the indictment, is not facing charges.

Givner said the man says he was not involved in the alleged scheme.

Vega remains at New York's Orange County Jail, where her bail has been set at $10,000 cash or $30,000 bond, according to the jail's record department.

Vega, whose attorney could not be immediately reached for comment, is scheduled to appear in court on April 20.

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