The Jessica Veronica Cornell Saga
Back in March, I wrote a puff piece which was ostensibly about a woman from the Philadelphia suburbs who wanted to get more women into powerlifting. You can read that story here.
It was a matter of hours before the hate mail started pouring in, with people calling the subject of that story — Jessica Veronica Cornell (or Smith) — a scam artist.
Moving onto other stories, as writers are wont to do, I filed that conflict away in the back of my mind, kind of knowing that it’d resurface at some point. Flash forward to July and August, and that’s exactly what it did, so I wrote a follow-up piece (among my last articles for PhillyVoice) which prompted threats of legal action despite Smith being given ample opportunity to each claim leveled against her.
This, because a local radio station called Smith’s claims of organizing a fundraiser “a fraud,” and several local female powerlifters claimed Smith had duped them out of money. There were also intimations that’d she’d faked a cancer diagnosis for financial gain. To wit:
The veracity of those fundraisers has come under scrutiny in social media threads about the canceled meet, some going so far as to question whether Cornell is even sick, allegations which both “infuriate” and “sicken” her.
To refute those assertions, Cornell provided emails from Facebook both asking for, and accepting, “examples of documentation that … include but are not limited to medical bills, doctor’s note, admission documentation, insurance claim info (or) hospital verification.”
She later provided a photo of a medical report – dated June 17, 2019 – which references a “suspicious focal mass” in her liver, enlarged adrenal glands and “metastatic disease in the abdomen and liver.”
Cornell’s attorney, Michael Pattanite Jr. of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, shared his thoughts about the claims being made against his client, which prompted USAPL to pull her state-chair status as it investigates the claims.
“I will only comment to say there is verified medical documentation of her illness, and that she will be pursuing her legal remedies against her attackers,” he wrote in an email to PhillyVoice last week. “Cyberbullying is real, and for a national and state level organization like USAPL to accept malicious Facebook posts as credible information before taking public action, is reprehensible.
“We all have the right to freedom of speech in America,” he added. “We do not have the right to attack an individual’s character based upon untrue allegations. When an attack causes damage, it is actionable. No one should have to suffer these attacks, based upon lies.”
To Cornell, these attacks are deeply personal. Calling them “a witch hunt,” she said she’s filing harassment complaints against some of her accusers.
“I have much better things to do, like actually fighting cancer, then (deal with) people making really horrific claims like that,” she said. “The sad part is I’ve been extremely transparent and literally have posted constantly about it but, hey, this is always going to happen when a few people are bitter. I am not publicly posting about it, obviously to leave it in the hands of my awesome lawyer.”
Well, things didn’t exactly turn out as the subject had hoped. According to several news reports (with the local attracting national attention) in recent weeks, Smith/Cornell was arrested and stands charged with allegedly bilking people out of $10K with that allegedly fake diagnosis.
I knew about it days before the story broke (but didn’t write about it for obvious reasons), courtesy of the independent investigators from a podcast that I’d referenced in my follow-up piece.
Here’s a press release from that podcast — The Ever Evolving Truth — which puts it all into perspective:
A few months ago, The Ever Evolving Truth Podcast was born. It has since exploded beyond the creators’ wildest dreams. The Ever Evolving Truth Podcast is an investigative series with Jeff Bergh, Leah Cassari, Andrew Mountz & Terri Coleman.
T.E.E.T. has connected hundreds of people who have been scammed by Jessica Cornell Smith.
This season focuses on a Chester Springs, Pa woman Jessica Cornell Smith, who is faking cancer for donations, along with hatching many other financial scams. Today, 10/30/19, a criminal complaint was filed by Uwchlan Township Police, one felony count of Theft By Deception-False impression and one felony count of Receiving Stolen Property. Her arrest is pending and the docket is attached.
The podcast has been very successful with exposing Jessica’s scams, sometimes while they were happening in real time. We have more than 55,000 listens after 22 episodes.
Here’s the link to the website: TheEverEvolvingTruth.com and here’s the podcast link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ever-evolving-truth/id1480321270
We were added to iTunes’ New & Noteworthy Top 40 list for True Crime Podcasts about two weeks ago.
Last week, on October 24, the “For Crying Out Loud” podcast by Adam Corolla’s wife, TV executive Lynette Corolla & Author Stefanie Wilder-Taylor recommended our podcast to their listeners. Here’s the link:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/so-many-things-are-cringey/id354082588?i=1000454901729 Their discussion begins around minute 32:00.
“For Crying Out Loud” mentions “The Ever Evolving Truth” again on this week’s episode here: (begins around minute 42:00)
We believe this financial-scam-rabbit-hole story is newsworthy, now more than ever with an arrest warrant issued today for Jessica Cornell, from Uwchlan Township (attached) as police have received the proof that she has been faking cancer. The podcast itself, is newsworthy with its exponential growth and following in such a brief time. We are moving forward with a film documentary after the finale before beginning season two.
Season 1 ends 11/16/19 with a live event in West Chester, Pa. The event is sold out with more than 130 listeners planning to attend.
Kudos to the Ever Evolving Truth team, who really broke this case wide open.