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Bride Charged With Faking Cancer to Get Free Wedding

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The latest reality TV sensation has been born. It appears that TLC (DISCA) and WE tv (AMCX) have only scratched the surface when it comes to finding egregious brides-to-be to feature in their line-ups of wedding-themed programming. The “Bridezilla” to rule them all has just fallen into the lap of every casting director -- and the lucky one to snatch her up will have hit the matrimonial monster jackpot.

A 25-year-old Virginia woman did far worse than tear up her veil in a fit of anger or demand a brand new wedding cake in the 11th hour. Jessica Vega wanted her “dream wedding” but she didn’t want to pay for it. And in devising a way to accomplish that, she didn’t take a page out of the sociopath’s handbook, she authored it herself.

In 2010, pretending to be suffering from terminal leukemia, Vega had just one wish before her life was to end within a matter of months: to marry the father of her one-year-old baby. Vendors in her then-Montgomery, NY community fell over themselves to make that dream come true and Vega exploited the goodwill and generosity of every last one -- allowing them to finance, not only her wedding but, her honeymoon too.

Last week, the New York State attorney general’s office charged her with with six felonies, including fraud and grand larceny and one misdemeanor. She pleaded not guilty.

The list of victims on the indictment against Vega include the Nu-Cavu restaurant in Wallkill, NY, where the reception was held and the Bella Couture boutique that donated the gown. The bride also accepted food and alcohol donations, wedding rings, plane tickets and accommodations in Aruba, and even hair and makeup services for herself and seven bridesmaids.

Not in on the scam was the groom, Michael O'Connell, who claimed Vega used the fake cancer diagnosis to dupe him into marrying him. Months later, when he allegedly learned the truth, O'Connell relayed it to the vendors. The couple are still married with a second child.

The real shame is that all of this could have easily been avoided had Vega gone the reality TV route in the first place. This is one brand of crazy for which TLC would have happily footed the bill. 
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