People are known to post life’s triumphs and tragedies on Facebook — but this story will make you take a hard, long look the next time someone comes asking for money, especially when that “Friend” isn’t someone you actually know very well.
Cristina Lagman of Riverside, California, told her Facebook friends that she was terminally ill with cancer, broke, raising her kids on her own, and that her house had burned down – twice. Posts included things like this one from February 2nd: “I am so scared … I have fought really hard … I don’t think I really believed it might really take me till today.” Or this post: “I’m down to possibly just weeks … my children and parents are in their own worlds and I’m left with the burden of dying by myself.”
Lagman, 39, could have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for some generous Facebook friends who decided to help in a bigger way.
Valerie Cortes of Murrieta and her fiance had given Langman gift cards for dinners, movies and spa treatments “to make the last of her days more comfortable and happier,” Cortes said. They then organized a fundraiser at a comedy club in Murrieta, and that’s where the lies started to reveal themselves. As Cortes recalls, “Cristina was happy, frolicking around, drinking quite a bit, passing donation bags around, and I thought her behavior was odd since she had said she only had four to six weeks of life left.”
Comedy club owner Rocky Osborne added, “The strangest thing was, as I looked around, most the people that she knew didn’t really even know her. So the people that were here had only known her for 30 to 60 days.”
Following the event, people began questioning Langman’s stories on Facebook — she promptly deleted them from her friends list. Cortes then offered to take her to her doctor.
“She had no proof,” Cortes said. “I asked her to show me a prescription bottle, a doctor’s visit, paperwork, something.”
Soon the police were notified, and on October 21 Lagman was charged with felony theft by false pretenses. Losses are estimated around $3,000, and Lagman is due in court for arraignment December 2.
The Orange County Register interviewed Lagman on the phone. She claims the allegations against her are false. She claims she does have cancer but is recovering.
That’s how cancer is. Every day people are told they’re not going to make it and miracles happen.
It’s really kind of sad that, when you’re doing OK, that people actually want you to die.
This is totally ridiculous. I’ve done nothing, nothing illegal whatsoever.