The “my baby is dead” funeral scam

My baby is dead and I don’t have the money to pay for his funeral

I must confess that I saw this “dead baby” story a few days ago and resisted it, but then I remembered¬† about 10 years ago I donated $20 to a young couple who were soliciting funds outside the Winn Dixie in Key West.¬† Since I saw this story I can’t stop wondering whether or not this was a real thing or a scam like this one.

After a lifetime in law enforcement I admit to seeing a lot of bad things, but I never saw this particular insult to society, and I find it most egregious.  How about you?

Here’s the story:

As sad as it is, dead baby scams really do work.

After all, scammers are profiting off a stranger’s goodwill. A picture of a cute baby is comparable to the picture of an adorable puppy. Both can melt even the coldest of hearts. And when you say that the baby has recently died – and you need money for a funeral – tugging on heartstrings can loosen people’s purse strings.

dead baby funeral scam

California scammers Chasity Doll, 20, and Tiffany Lyon, 27, capitalized on the goodness of strangers in this very way.

The two stood in a busy intersection in Modesto, California, where they held up a sign with a photo of a baby that they named as “Justin Michael Farrell” who lived from January 20, 2011 to June 6, 2011. The yellow sign read “funeral donations,” reports the New York Daily News.

They collected around $700 in cash from generous motorists who sympathized with their plight, according to the New York Daily News.

Too bad it turns out that “Justin Michael Farrell” never existed.

Two police officers had first advised the two women to stay on the sidewalk. When they disobeyed the orders, they started asking them about the baby. The two women said that they were sisters, and that the baby had died when they were out of town on June 6, 2011. However, the “sisters” were unable to tell officers which hospital the baby had died in, who the baby’s doctor was, or where the baby was born, which made the officers a bit more than suspicious, reports the New York Daily News.

One officer called the coroner who said no baby named “Justin Michael Farrell” had ever died in Modesto, the New York Daily News reports.

Eventually, the two women told officers that they had found the photo of the baby online and had used the same scam the previous week at another intersection, according to the New York Daily News.

Doll and Lyon were charged were fraud and conspiracy. Fraud usually involves the intentional misrepresentation of a fact. Here, the fact would have been the existence – and death – of the baby. Though their dead baby scam was good to raise a few hundred bucks, it probably wasn’t worth the arrest.

Many thanks to our FindLaw friends for this sad story.

Now that you’ve had the time to read it, please let us now what you think about the “dead baby” scam in the comments section.

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Copyright 2011 MadMikesAmerica
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Posted by on July 5, 2011. Filed under Commentary,News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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3 Responses to The “my baby is dead” funeral scam

  1. jenny40

    July 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

    This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of I think. These two women are sick.

  2. Roger M

    July 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Yes, it’s disgusting. And a pretty good job by the police officers.
    However, I got to admit, the story reminds me of the millions of dollars collected every day for a god who also never existed. The latter is very well organized and accepted. But basically, I claim it’s the same scam.
    Same fraud. First is criminal, the other highly regarded by the masses. Go figure!

    • A Michael J. Scott

      July 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Great point Roger and you just gave me an idea. Thanks!