Faking an Illness: When Lying Turns Criminal

Faking an illness for profit or personal gain seems like something polite society wouldn’t allow. But alas, there are people out there who, whether out of desperation or pure criminal motive, will do just that.

Psychologists call lying of this nature malingering. According to Wikipedia, this is “the fabrication, feigning, or exaggeration of physical or psychological symptoms designed to achieve a desired outcome, such as relief from duty or work.”

For example, a woman from St. Louis pretended to have muscular dystrophy to go to a Texas camp for people with disabilities, and faked having signs of breast cancer so she could receive gifts from a nonprofit. A judge charged the woman with eight felony counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. (Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

There’s also the HBO original show “Mommy Dead and Dearest” that depicts the true story of a mother who who lied to others about her healthy daughter having serious medical conditions. The daughter, Gypsy Rose, ended up murdering her mother to escape her twisted plan.

Honesty really is the best policy, huh?