California woman faked fireman man to collect more than $2G in donations, police say

Ashley Bemis, 28, was arrested and charged Tuesday after she allegedly stole from people who believed they were donating to help firefighters battling the forest fires of California.
(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

A California woman pretending to be a fake-fireman man and claimed that he was in the front line against a wildfire as part of a plan to collect thousands of dollars in donations, authorities said — and they cost it is not the first time that the 28-year-old was caught red-handed in a scam.

Ashley Bemis, 28, was arrested Tuesday for defrauding money and items from people who believed they were helping firefighters fight the Holy Fire in August, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.

Bemis’ scam began to unravel after her victims told authorities the woman that was known to sell donated items, the Orange County Register reported. The alleged scammer posted on her personal Facebook page, and in the group with the name San Clemente Life because her husband, California firefighter Shane Goodman, was fighting in the Holy Fire. She would be listed the various items that the fire department needed and said that they are collecting donations to give to them.

“Shane works for Cal Fire and is from the Sacred Fire now,” she wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “I also have two other members of the family and the many friends on this fire and other fires burning here in California. I got a text today from Shane says it’s pretty much a living hell out there fighting the unpredictable ‘Holy Hell Fire.'”

Bemis’ post seemed to work, police said.

“After the social media posts, several natural persons and companies in San Clemente and the surrounding area approached Bemis to give,” said the police. “Bemis is suspected of collecting more than $2,000 in donations, both in cash and items such as socks, sports drinks, water, and camping equipment, of private individuals, shops and businesses.”

To her pitch seem less suspicious, Bemis went to the Holy Fire command post in Irvine for the hand in a number of the donated items, but in a stack, the Register reported.

A captain of a local fire agency was suspected of Bemis and warned the police to investigate the matter.

Bemis faces charges of felony grand theft, second-degree burglary, witness intimidation and making false statements. She is being held on $50,000 bail.

The 28-year-old reportedly has a history of creating elaborate schemes to steal from others. She once did a pregnancy to receive free gifts which she later sold. They enlisted the help of Quinn and Starla Bork, who said she spent hundreds of dollars on a baby shower.

“It was money that they really couldn’t afford, but she wanted to help Ashley,” the search warrant stated.

Bemis also be seen on “The Dr. Phil Show” in November and was confronted with several people who claimed that they are the victims of her magic tricks.

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