28-year-old Ashley Bemis, who once wore prosthetics to fake a pregnancy, has returned with another scam.
Ashley thought she could take advantage of a California wildfire by pretending she had a firefighter husband to collect donations.
Ashley Bemis, 28, collected at least $11,000 in goods and cash starting Aug. 10 after she concocted her elaborate story about a husband named Shane Goodman who desperately needed support on the frontlines of the raging wildfire, police said.
The San Clemente resident called for donations of air mattresses, baby wipes, clothes, food and other items in a post on the “San Clemente Life” Facebook page — and beefed up her claim with photos and a bogus backstory.
“She had gone to great lengths to make herself seem very legitimate,” Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department told the Daily News.
Braun said that within a week, “multiple individuals” reported Bemis as suspicious. An investigation started Aug. 17 quickly determined no one named Shane Goodman worked for Cal Fire, she said.
“In fact, he doesn’t exist,” Braun told The News.
Braun said search warrants served at Bemis’ residence and a garage recovered the donated merchandise.
“The $11,000 is just the goods, the physical goods. The cash she collected is expected to be over and above that amount,” Braun said. “We don’t know yet how much. That’s why we’re asking individuals who may have donated to contact us and provide their information.”
She said the investigation so far suggests a “pattern” of fraud on the part of Bemis that includes at least one fake pregnancy.
A San Clemente resident sounded the alarm in an Aug. 16 Facebook post that claimed Bemis faked a pregnancy by wearing a series of different prosthetics that simulated a growing belly.
“My first experience with Ashley was in 2012, when she faked a pregnancy by wearing graduating pregnancy suits for 9 months, claiming that her husband Shane had died of a terminal illness, and that her first 2 year old child had died of a heart defect,” the former friend, Quinn Bork, wrote in the post.
“She was all alone, so we all rallied around her, and the ladies even threw her a baby shower where she gladly accepted our gifts. Some of the ladies grew suspicious as she wouldn’t let anyone come close to touching her belly,” he wrote.
“A couple of weeks later she posted on Facebook to thank us for our support but the baby died during childbirth,” he said.
“I believe there may have been more than one pregnancy,” Braun said Monday.
Ashley really committed to the scammer life, didn’t she?