A couple is facing charges for fraud and theft by deception after they allegedly faked a pregnancy and then the subsequent birth and death of a baby — all to field gifts and money.
Geoffrey and Kaycee Lang, of Somerset County, Pa., shared an obituary for their fictional baby, Easton Walt Lang, on July 12, in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. According to the obituary, the child lived for “just a little over 5 hours” at Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Pa.
“Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of ‘I love yous,’” the obituary read.
Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Stephen Limani tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the baby did not exist and no records of a birth or death were found.
“The Langs said their baby passed away at a hospital with complications at birth — which was not true,” Limani says. “They used their GoFundMe page to trick friends, relatives and people that were close to them. That’s pretty despicable.”
The couple had launched a GoFundMe campaign to ask for contributions toward their son’s funeral and received 15 donations totaling $550. The baby used in the photo was a doll, according to WTAE.
However, they won’t be receiving any of the funds they raised. GoFundMe spokeswoman Meghan Scripture tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the crowdfunding platform will issue full refunds to all donors and cooperate with law enforcement throughout the investigation.
“This type of behavior is not tolerated on GoFundMe,” Scripture says. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for any misuse on the platform. All donors are fully protected by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means donors are protected by a comprehensive refund policy if misuse occurs.”
Kaycee’s friend Cynthia Dilasio, who reported the couple to the police, claims that this isn’t the first time the woman said she “lost” a baby.
“We were excited for them because previously she had told us she had lost a baby,” Cynthia Dilasio told WTAE. “We thought it’s a great thing for them.”
Kaycee shared a photo of a sonogram on Facebook in September 2015.
Dilasio threw the couple a baby shower but got suspicious after Kaycee claimed to be on bed rest near the end of her “pregnancy,” around seven months. She said Kaycee called to tell her she had given birth on July 3 but that the baby died because of fluid in his lungs.
“I knew that just doesn’t seem right,” Dilasio told the Pittsburgh news station. She contacted the funeral home where she was told the baby had been cremated but was told there was no account in the couple’s name, WTAE reported. It is not clear if they have an attorney.
According to Limani, the couple has received a misdemeanor summons by mail and is scheduled to appear in court this October.
Lang and Dilasio did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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