Somewhere out in the suburbs of Minneapolis there's a man who paid more than $100,000 in child support for a kid who never existed.
Earlier this month Johna Vandemore pleaded guilty to milking the money -- $1,000 per month for more than six years, plus extra around the holidays and the fake child's "birthday" -- from a man identified in federal court filings only as T.K.
According to charges filed in U.S. District Court:
Vandemore, who was going by Johna Ratliff at the time, and is also known as Johna Volger, met T.K. through an online dating site in spring 2007. They met up several times in Iowa that spring, and a few months later Vandemore told T.K she was pregnant.
When T.K. was hit with the news he requested a blood test to make sure the baby was his, but Vandemore refused. She told him that a blood test meant she'd have to officially file for child support in court, and then he'd be sending her "a significant percentage of his income" each month. Instead, Vandemore convinced T.K. to send her an even $1,000 per month and he could wash his hands of the whole ordeal.
Vandemore sent T.K. photos of her cousin's daughter and a fake birth certificate to prove the child was real, and the ruse ran smoothly from August 2007 until October 2013.
In 2013, according to the Quad-City Times, T.K.'s wife got suspicious about his supposed bastard in Iowa and hired a private investigator to look into the situation.
When the PI discovered Vandemore's child wasn't real, T.K. and his wife took the case to police, who got the FBI involved. Vandemore pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court on December 17 and is facing up to 20 years in prison. She will also have to pay at least $100,000 in restitution.
Jeff Buckles, a detective with the Bettendorf, Iowa police department, told the Quad-City Times T.K. resides in a suburb of Minneapolis.
"We see a lot of things," Buckles told the Quad City Times. "The fact you can carry this on this long ... disheartening may not be the right word. It's crazy."