An Iowa woman was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to 18 months in prison after she swindled a man who thought she had given birth to his child.
And it was no trite swindle, either — over the course of six years, he sent over 90 payments totaling $95,850 to Johna Loreen Vandermore, who not only lied about being pregnant but continued to claim she’d given birth and was raising their child.
Following a short relationship with the man in 2007, she informed him she was pregnant, and he agreed to support his child with $1,000 payments every month. He would also send extra money on occasion for expenses she reported, as well as birthday and holiday gifts. Over time, the woman’s husband became aware of the large checks she was getting each month, but she explained it was earnings from selling Herbalife.
To bolster her claims, she sent the man a birth certificate she completely faked from a hospital that didn’t exist, and also mailed off photos of a relative’s child, saying it was theirs. Her defense attorney said the woman really believed she was pregnant at first and sought help from the man, but it soon spiraled out of control.
She was convicted of mail fraud in a federal court and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. She was also ordered to pay back the money she had defrauded the man out of.
While this whole case is sad, one thing Vandermore’s defense attorney, Donovan Robertson, said really stuck out to me. He said that if the man had made more of an attempt to be in his child’s life, then the con wouldn’t have gone on for so long. “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,” he wrote.
However, that’s exactly what it’s doing — blaming the man for being swindled and conned out of nearly $100,000. Yes, of course he could have insisted on meeting his kid, but how can you seriously lay blame on someone who had that amount of money stolen from them? And they obviously weren’t close — she could have brought a relative’s child for a meeting, and he’d be none the wiser.
Regardless of the victim-blaming, the woman will spend the next 18 months behind bars, and hopefully she’ll eventually pay the man back.