Are you a good liar? Furthermore, do you like lying? Some people are good at it but hate doing it, while others love it but can't quite get it right. We all have our own limits and abilities when it comes to lying, with even those who lie frequently knowing they need to stop after a certain point.
Some people don't have that limit, and are willing to lie about just about anything to get what they want. Sometimes, though, those people get caught, and seeing them get served for what they did is oh so satisfying.
Anyone who's ever even remotely been part of a wedding can know just how quickly costs rack up. Even for small weddings, it can wind up costing more than a pretty penny to have a nice time while you tie the knot with your significant other.
Sure, there's eloping, but there are some who would rather turn to unsavory means to raise money for their wedding over skipping the party and going just for the signing of papers.
The Worst News
One such person is Toni Standen, who was 29 years old when her plan to raise extra money for her wedding landed her in jail.
In 2017, Standen posted a link to a GoFundMe page on social media alongside a very tragic life update. She had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, one that was leaving her with only a few months left to live. "It's gone to my brain, my bones — it's everywhere."
Some Helpful Souls
The GoFundMe page was actually created by some friends of hers who wanted to ensure Standen and her fiancé, James, 52 at the time, could have "a wedding they deserve" before her passing.
She wound up collecting $11,000 for the wedding and their planned honeymoon in Turkey, an incredible amount. However, some time after the money was collected, people began to get a little suspicious.
Standen had set up her story incredibly well, shaving her head and giving her friends health updates with such "clarity and detail" that it all seemed legitimate. She even been interviewed by news outlets about her situation.
Too Good To Be True
First, she lived past the initial doctor-provided timeline of a few months, which would be a miracle under any other circumstances. Not only was she still alive, she was very healthy and thriving, while still claiming to have cancer.
It wasn't until the following summer, in which she was travelling all around Europe despite her very serious illness, that her friends thought something might be up. She was in shockingly good form for someone who was supposed to have an extremely aggressive, terminal form of cancer, one that she was feigning getting chemotherapy treatment for given her shaved head.
Breaking The News
A couple of her friends decided to confront her during a three-way phone call, demanding to know the truth. Standen caved immediately and admitted her cancer story was "all lies."
Of course, her friends immediately spread this around and let everyone know the truth. Standen texted the friends who confronted her, saying, "I am embarrassed and heartbroken and right now I am struggling. At the minute I don't know if Jim and I will be getting a divorce, I don’t blame him if he does and I don’t blame you both if this is the end." This also confirms that her husband wasn't in on the scheme, he was duped like everyone else.
To make this whole situation worse, Standen's father did genuinely have cancer and passed away shortly before her wedding. He had left a message for her to be played at the reception, one that was very touching and had her other family members in tears, but she seemed entirely unaffected.
A guest at the wedding told Manchester Evening News, "After hearing her father's labored words, she got up and gave a faultless speech, even cracking a few jokes. Her mother and brother were in bits. We’d all just listened to a father of the bride message from beyond the grave. Toni even received a video message from Everton FC, delivered by one of the top players. She laughed throughout."
While lying about an illness isn't technically against the law, raising money and getting donations under false pretenses is. Standen did have to go to trial, where her husband still supported her despite everything, and hear the judge's thoughts on her crime.
"Every right-thinking member of society would be appalled by your behavior," said District Judge Nicholas Sanders at Chester Magistrates' Court. "Thankfully it's not often this court has to sentence someone who has shown such a degree of shamelessness, such greed, or such a betrayal of friendship as you did to your friends and the wider community."
Sat And Watched
"Such was your lack of shame that you kept taking money from them over many, many months."
She was ordered to pay back $2700 that had been donated by a local business and was sentenced to five months in prison for fraud.
Neil Colville, Senior District Prosecutor for CPS Mersey Cheshire, told ECHO, "Toni Standen made up a terminal illness to gain sympathy and then watched as her friends raised money to support her through what they thought were her final years. She used that money to fund a wedding and a holiday."
"Her own father was genuinely ill but her condition was a fraud. She appears to have dug herself deeper and deeper into the deception as the years went by and seemed incapable of telling the truth and bringing the deception to an end," he continued.
"A local business man donated £2,000 as he was so moved by her plight. He said in a Victim Personal Statement that he would think twice before giving to this sort of charity again."
Better Safe Than Sorry
"This was a sophisticated fraud, carried out over a number of years and has left her friends and others devastated. They feel cheated and betrayed."
Judge Sanders would go on to say, "You continued to embellish that tissue of lies, saying you had weeks to live. I don't accept you couldn't stop."
Toni's story is a shocking one, as no one would believe someone would stoop so low for something like this. It's a dark reminder to always be wary, and if something feels out of places, chances are that it is.