It may be that the Boston area is simply a dangerous place for a nanny. Several years ago, we had that case in Cambridge where a British nanny was accused (and, actually, convicted) of killing a baby. The case made international headlines. She did have an extremely experienced criminal lawyer on her side and…guess what? She ended up going home when it was all over.
Well, this case is a tad different and the attorney ends up not being needed for the nanny after all. In fact, there was no nanny. Not even a baby. And the outer-Massachusetts part of the drama did not take place overseas, but in Miami, Florida.
You remember Florida, don’t you? Another fraud, to the tune of billions of dollars, was recently discovered there.
Meagan M., 22 (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is a Miami woman who is alleged to have come up with an inventive way to try to keep her man. She made up a baby.
Well, kinda. She tried to do it the regular way, but did not suceed. Apparently, she lost the baby due to a miscarriage three months into the pregnancy. However, Miami police said the Defendant pretended to carry the baby to full term in order to keep her boyfriend, John B., 26, (hereinafter, “Big John”) from breaking up with her. She even named the phantom child, giving it Big John’s last name.
The real problems began when Big John wanted to see the child after its alleged birth. So, the Defendant did what seemed to be the logical thing…she reported that the baby had been kidnapped, and then reported the baby missing to police.
Now, what could be more romantic than that?
The Defendant went so far as to pass off pictures of babies from the internet as her son, police said. She downloaded a photo of a baby with a blond Mohawk from the Internet and told police that the boy, who had a fake anchor tattoo on his arm, had been taken by her nanny. The photo was widely circulated in Florida and an Amber Alert was issued after she reported the child missing last Wednesday and the child’s photo was featured prominently on www.missingkids.com, the Web site for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Police said the Defendant also made a phone call impersonating the baby’s supposed nanny. “She made something up, and her story was the nanny, who supposedly had the baby all day did not bring the baby back,” Miami detective Freddy Ponce said. “The fact is she was the nanny. She had a separate cell phone, using it as the nanny saying, ‘Yeah, I’m on my way I’m stuck in traffic,’ [but] the baby never existed.”
And so it was that the Defendant captured the hearts of the country and forced local authorities to work through the Christmas holiday to find her non-existent child. You may have even seen one of her tearful pleas on Christmas day. “I don’t even know if he’s dead or alive, if they were in a car accident, I don’t even know if they’re in Florida, I don’t know where they are,” McCormic said during a tearful public appeal, made alongside Big John, who was also crying.
The nonexistent nanny was said to be from, of course, Massachusetts. Perhaps because of our reputation for having nanny horror stories since the above-referenced infamous nanny case. However, as often happens, inconsistencies began to appear in the Defendant’s story. Finally, after being confronted with these nasty credibility-killers, she is said to have admitted to police that she had lost the baby due to the miscarriage and that she had used the fake baby storyline to get close to her ex-boyfriend, Big John.
It turns out that the Defendant herself had moved to Miami from Massachusetts four months ago. According to the police spokesperson, the Defendant “wanted to have a true relationship with her boyfriend and apparently she used this tool to lure him in and make him feel that she needed him.”
The Defendant is charged with providing false information to police, a first degree misdemeanor in Florida. The police will also ask the court system to require that she pay restitution for the manpower necessitated for the oofficials to work throughout the Christmas holiday to find this non-existent child.
She was ordered held on $500 bond, or $10 cash, at a court hearing, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
No word on the status of the relationship between the Defendant and Big John, though.
Well, you know what they say…”nothing says love like a make-believe baby”.
You know, when I was a kid, I had an imaginary friend…but it was the reverse. The friend was an adult and I was the kid. It was also different because I did not have access to an internet which could make it so easy for me to convince others of my friend’s existence.
But, welcome to the new millennium. And, I suppose, it is where we should start off on today’s commentary.
The internet, and computers in general, make fraudulent claims much easier to perpetrate. Rest assured, however, the authorities are well aware of this. Therefore, investigations can sprout up around all kinds of claims, even without the claimant being aware of the investigation. Then, inconvenient questions get asked…as they did with the Defendant.
That may all be well and good in cases like this where a clear fraud is being performed. However, when questioned by law enforcement, people get nervous and we all have the potential of getting confused and being inconsistent. In short, even if one is doing nothing wrong, it is easy to act guilty and, before you know it, be placed under the microscope of suspicion.
So whether it involves financial wheeling and dealing…or the kidnapping of a non-existent cute little baby with a Mohawk and fake tattoo…if you have reason to believe you are being investigated, do not go it alone. Contact an experienced professional who can best advise, protect and, if necessary, defend you.
My suggestion is that you do it before you decide to match wits with law enforcement and provide them with additional ammunition, if twisted the right way.
Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, LLP. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a Boston defense attorney over 18 years. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call 617-492 3000
The full articles of this story can be found at : http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1141385 , http://www.wbbm780.com/pages/3562483.php? And http://www.smh.com.au/news/lifeandstyle/lifematters/woman-fakes-birth-to-keep-boyfriend/2008/12/29/1230399091083.html