Woman arrested for alleged California wildfire scam
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a woman they say posed as the wife of a firefighter battling Southern California’s massive Holy Fire and bilked people out of thousands of dollars in donations.
Ashley Bemis of San Juan Capistrano was jailed Tuesday on suspicion of grand theft and other crimes. It’s unclear whether she has an attorney.
Authorities say Bemis posed on social media as the wife of a firefighter battling the August blaze that scorched the Cleveland National Forest in Orange and Riverside counties. She allegedly posted photos of herself and her fictitious husband and sought donations for firefighters.
Authorities say she collected more than $2,000 worth of cash and goods, including camping equipment, sports drinks and socks.
The alleged scheme unraveled when a suspicious fire captain contacted the Sheriff’s Department.