A woman who once purportedly faked her own pregnancy using prosthetics to simulate a growing belly is now being accused of defrauding good Samaritans of at least $ 11,000 by making up the story that her husband fought the recent wildfires in California.
Ashley Bemis, 28, is being investigated by police in Southern California after numerous people complained that they had been tricked into donating money and supplies to a false fireman husband.
Bemis, a wedding planner from San Clemente, posted a message on a Facebook page stating that her husband, Shane Goodman, was on the front line of recent wildfires and desperately needed supplies, according to the San Diego Union. Tribune
As of August 10, many supporters began donating air mattresses, wet wipes, clothes, food, earplugs and candy after viewing the post on Facebook, which included photos and an elaborate story.
"Shane works for Cal Fire and now he's in the Holy Fire," he wrote in the publication, according to the Orange County Register.
"I also have two other relatives and many friends out in this fire and other fires burning here in California.
"I received a text message from Shane saying that it is a real hell to fight against the unpredictable" Holy Hell Fire ".
Ashley Bemis, 28, is being investigated by police in Southern California after numerous people complained that they had been tricked into donating money and supplies to a false husband of a firefighter.
The Facebook publication, which also included a list of four delivery locations in San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, has been eliminated since then.
"I had done everything I could to look legitimate," said a spokesman for the Orange County sheriff's department.
Bemis received $ 11,000 in supplies and thousands of dollars in contributions, according to authorities.
But in a week several people contacted the police and said there was something suspicious about Bemis.
One of them, Quinn Bork, told investigators in San Clemente that in 2012 he and his wife, Starla, threw a baby shower at Bemis.
Months later, the couple learned that Bemis faked pregnancy so she could take the gifts she received and sell them.
Starla Bork spent several hundred dollars to launch the baby shower, Quinn Bork told police.
"It was money that I really could not pay, but I wanted to help Ashley," Quinn Bork told investigators.
Another woman who helped organize the baby shower said that she received a text message from Bemis around the time of the baby's birth.
The woman said that Bemis sent her a text message that told her that she was in a hospital and that the baby was stillborn.
Bemis received $ 11,000 in supplies and thousands of dollars in contributions, according to authorities. But in a week several people contacted the authorities and said there was something suspicious about Bemis.
Police say the woman contacted the hospital where Bemis claimed to have stayed at Hoag Hospital.
The hospital authorities told him there was no record that Ashley Bemis was registering and that they did not have a dead baby in two years.
After checking other hospitals and verifying that none of them confirmed Bemis's claims, he knew he had been scammed.
In 2012, it is alleged that Bemis disguised a child who was hired to take care of as a nanny and posted a picture of him on Facebook disguised as his daughter.
The woman who hired Bemis to care for her son obtained a restraining order against her fear of kidnapping her son.
An investigation that began after the complaints revealed that there was no Cal Fire firefighter named Shane Goodman.
"In fact, he does not exist," said Carrie Braun, spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Bemis claimed that her "husband", Shane Goodman, was fighting the California wildfires. But an investigation revealed that she is not married and that Shane Goodman does not exist
The authorities also learned that Bemis was not married and had no children.
Police executed a search warrant at his home and removed the donated items, but authorities say they are still investigating how much cash he managed to raise.
Law enforcement agencies ask anyone who has donated money to Bemis to report to the San Clemente Sheriff's Office office and fill out a questionnaire.
& # 39; We hope the community does a good job to introduce us, so we can present the best possible case [to the Orange County district attorney’s office] hold this person accountable for their actions, "Braun told the Los Angeles Times.
Late on Monday, Bemis has not been arrested or charged with any crime.
The police say that she is cooperating.