hoax

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After 'Professor' Dies of COVID, Bizarre Hoax Theory Emerges

It appears the professor never existed and the related Twitter feed was bogus

(Newser) - It's a convoluted tale without a lot of answers at the moment. It revolves around an apparently fictitious professor at Arizona State University, the announcement of that professor's death on Twitter of COVID-19, and a prominent crusader against sexual harassment in the sciences. Digging in:
  • The death: Last
... More »

Trump on Coronavirus: It's Dems' 'New Hoax'

Claims Democrats are 'politicizing' contagious disease, says administration is 'totally prepared'

(Newser) - As the coronavirus continues to infiltrate countries around the world, President Trump is knocking Democrats in the US for "politicizing" the contagious disease. NBC News reports that Trump made his remarks at a campaign rally in North Charleston, SC, Friday evening as he continued to minimize the risk of... More »

Coronavirus in Meth? Cops Defend the Hoax

A health expert argues 'they're undermining their credibility'

(Newser) - Police across the country are issuing fake warnings about meth infected with coronavirus—and a health expert is none too pleased. Police departments in St. Francis County, Ark.; Johnson City, Texas; Taveres, Fla.; and Decatur County, Kan.; are among those that have shared the warning about COVID-19, which has killed... More »

Jussie Smollett Saga Takes Yet Another Turn

Former 'Empire' actor files counterclaim against city of Chicago

(Newser) - The latest in the Jussie Smollett legal saga: The former Empire actor has countersued Chicago after the city sued him in April in an attempt to recoup the cost of the police investigation into what authorities say was a hoax attack staged by the actor in January. Smollett had already... More »

Well-Known Columnist Apparently Got 'Swatted'

Someone called cops, told them Leonard Pitts Jr.'s wife was being murdered in their home

(Newser) - "It was an interesting way to start the morning," says columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., and that may be just a bit of an understatement. After someone made a hoax call to police reporting that the wife of the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist was being murdered inside their Bowie, Md.... More »

Police Release Video in Jussie Smollett Case

Body cam footage shows actor with rope around neck

(Newser) - Police in Chicago have released more than 70 hours of video relating to the bizarre Jussie Smollett case—including body camera footage from officers responding to the hate crime the actor allegedly staged. In footage from his home, Smollett can be seen with a white rope around his neck, NBC... More »

Publisher of Sandy Hook Hoax Book: 'Pozner Telling the Truth'

Lenny Pozner has also won a defamation suit against the book's authors

(Newser) - The father of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book that claimed the shooting never happened—the latest victory for victims' relatives who have been taking a more aggressive stance against conspiracy theorists. Nobody Died at Sandy ... More »

Fake Heiress Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison

Anna Sorokin scammed her way into elite NYC circles

(Newser) - A woman who claimed to be a wealthy German heiress has been found guilty of scamming banks, hotels, and friends who funded her lavish New York City lifestyle. Anna Sorokin, 28, was found guilty Thursday of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny, and one count... More »

GoFundMe Scammer Faces Up to 4 Years in State Prison

She pleads guilty to theft by deception

(Newser) - A New Jersey woman who hoodwinked GoFundMe donors with a fake story about helping a homeless vet faces up to four years in state prison after pleading guilty for a second time. Katelyn McClure, who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud last month, pleaded guilty in a... More »

Chicago Files Lawsuit Against Jussie Smollett

City wants him to pay police overtime costs

(Newser) - The city of Chicago has made good on its promise to sue Jussie Smollett for the cost of investigating the attack it says he staged. In a lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday, city lawyers say they are seeking "the full measure of damages allowed under... More »

No Bail for Man Who Claimed to Be Missing Child

Judge decides Brian Rini is a flight risk

(Newser) - A US magistrate ordered an Ohio man to remain jailed without bond Tuesday on a charge that he lied to federal agents about being a missing child from Illinois. Authorities in Kentucky charged Brian Michael Rini, 23, of Medina, Ohio, on Friday, a day after DNA testing proved he wasn'... More »

Man Who Claimed to Be Timmothy Pitzen Is 23

Cops say he is 'known schemer' Brian Michael Rini

(Newser) - The person who claimed to be 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen , giving false hope to the long-missing Illinois child's family, is actually a 23-year-old man described by police as a "known schemer." Police in Newport, Ky., say the man found wandering in the city Wednesday has been identified as... More »

Chicago Says Smollett Has Refused to Pay Up

City is taking Empire actor to court

(Newser) - Chicago says it is taking Jussie Smollett to court for refusing to cough up $130,000 to reimburse the city for the investigation of the hate crime he allegedly staged. The city sent the Empire actor a bill last week , saying taxpayers deserved to get the money back. The city... More »

She Led a Crazy-Rich Life in the Big Apple. One Problem

Prosecutors say Anna Sorokin was a fraudster

(Newser) - Anna Sorokin traveled in celebrity circles and tossed $100 tips—all the more reason to believe she was the German heiress worth roughly $60 million she said she was. But behind the jet-set lifestyle and pricey threads, prosecutors say, was a fraudster. Sorokin, 28, lived in luxury New York City... More »

Report: FBI Is Still Investigating Jussie Smollett

'We believe he did what he was charged with doing,' prosecutor says

(Newser) - Authorities in Chicago are confused— and angry —about state prosecutors' decision to drop all charges against Jussie Smollett , but the Empire star might still end up back in court. Sources tell ABC that Smollett, who was accused of staging an attack on himself in late January, is still being... More »

Activist Charged in House Fire Investigated as Hate Crime

Michigan police call hoax on 2017 blaze

(Newser) - A Michigan gay rights activist and former Citizen of the Year has been charged with setting his home ablaze in what was first investigated as a hate crime. The 2017 fire killed five pets, the Detroit News reports. Nikki Joly, a transgender man, had received death threats prior to the... More »

Chicago Cops Reveal Actor Smollett's Alleged Motive

They say he staged attack because he was unhappy with his 'Empire' salary

(Newser) - He wanted a better salary. That's the alleged motive of Empire actor Jussie Smollett for staging a fake assault on himself, according to Chicago police. Chief Eddie Johnson told reporters Thursday that the 36-year-old actor wasn't happy with what he was making on the Fox show and thought... More »

Email Bomb Threats Were a Hoax—and a 'Terrible Strategy'

Extortion warnings sent around the US, Canada demanded $20K in bitcoin

(Newser) - Chaos ensued across the US, Canada, and New Zealand Thursday after schools, businesses, government buildings, media outlets, and other venues were hit with a wave of email threats that warned of bombs going off at each target if $20,000 in bitcoin wasn't paid up, USA Today reports. Police... More »

Cops: Woman Faked Abduction to Avoid Paying Workers

She claimed men stole $9K from her

(Newser) - A California woman who said she had been kidnapped, robbed, tied up, and possibly sexually assaulted was making it all up because she didn't want to pay her subcontractors, according to police in Fresno. Police say 32-year-old Maria Gonzalez claimed two black men armed with a handgun abducted her... More »

Using Bacon Pics, Orrin Hatch Proves He Didn't Die

His Google bio erroneously declared Utah senator deceased as of last September

(Newser) - "Hi.. @Google? We might need to talk." That was Orrin Hatch's tweet to the tech site late Monday night after he spotted an error in his bio that popped up in a Google search, and it was a pretty big one. According to Google, the 84-year-old Utah... More »

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