A Twin Cities man handed over $100,000 in child support payments to a woman in Iowa – for a child that didn't even exist.
The Associated Press reports that Johna Loreen Vandemore has pleaded guilty in court this week to a federal mail fraud charge after faking a birth to collect child support over 6 years from the man she led to believe was the child's father.
Vandemore, who faces a sentence of up to 20 years, met her victim on an online dating website in 2007 and met him in person in Bettendorf and Waterloo, Iowa, according to AP.
She then contacted him several months later telling him she was pregnant, and began collecting child support that in the end totaled more than $100,000 after convincing him using a fake birth certificate.
WRAL reports that Vandemore refused his request for a paternity test, telling him it would lead to her seeking child support through the courts, and instead convinced him to pay $1,000-a-month for the upkeep of his fictional daughter instead.
The victim, whose name has not been reported, has since moved to a suburb of Minneapolis, and the Quad City Times said Vandemore's scam was uncovered when the victim's new wife became suspicious.
The newspaper said his wife began digging into Vandemore's story and found inconsistencies, before hiring a private investigator who went to the police with his findings.
Bettendorf Detective Jeff Buckles told the Times: "We see a lot of things. The fact you can carry this on this long … disheartening may not be the right word. It’s crazy."