So, I am the Twister that Brooks refers to in his post :
Fakes. What do we do when we suspect they’re among us?
I can attest to all he has written in this post and then some. Like Brooks though, I am not up for writing War and Peace tonight, so this is some of the rest of the story.
I too was duped by Jo Von Ho. This goes way back, and I honestly do not recall all the particulars of our involvement. I was on phone calls, internet chatrolls etc. with her. This was probably prior to the June primary as I was working with Anystreet to encourage help with the Chuck Devore campaign. One evening I was tweeting with Jo (aka @FemmePatriot) when Brooks dm’d me: “there is an imposter in our community”. He and I subsequently talked and it did not stop there. Without embarrassing anyone in the Anystreet organization, it would be impossible to tell you the depth of the cover up of the fraud, Jo Von Ho. One would have thought I had learned my lesson!
As Brooks says, “fast forward” to a few weeks ago when tweets began flying requesting prayers for “Raquel” by her sister “Anamaris”. I became emotionally invested in Raquel and tweeted a few things in the public timeline to Anamaris. I also began dm’ing with her regularly. Additionally, I DID pray for her sister. It was not until Brooks contacted me and questioned the legitimacy of this that I stopped to think. Actually, at first, I assured him it was real. He persisted, and reminded me of Jo Von Ho so I went into action that very day. My phone records reflect that this was on 12/22. I believe I first contacted my friend Michelle (@MichelleinCAL on twitter) in San Diego who I knew was very emotionally vested in the welfare of Raquel. (By the way, I have met Michelle in person.) I told Michelle that Brooks was skeptical of this as was I. Michelle shared with me things that Anamaris had not told me. Notably that Raquel was at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. I immediately called UCSF and was informed that “There is no patient by the name of Raquel Esparragoza” in ANY unit at UCSF. How about a Raquel E? No, nobody by that name either. I was transferred to a supervisor who went to great lengths to search the database. There was no Raquel E at UCSF. I shared this with Michelle who also called the hospital. She got the same responses and the same careful service. We were not dismissed outright; they really looked for “our friend Raquel who is in ICU on life support”. Michelle called to my attention that there is more than 1 UCSF phone number so; both she and I tried again. For the third time I was told that there was no Raquel E in the hospital. Michelle went into action and found a web form to email patients at UCSF. She sent an email, it was bounced back.
Meanwhile, I checked out the dates of the twitter accounts and the facebook accounts and discovered them to be new. Raquel’s was created in mid November and Anamaris’ was created on December 14th, 2010. Additionally, Raquel had a Facebook page created in November. I know one person whose friend request was accepted during the time period that Raquel was in a coma. Hey, miracles happen. But not this time…
The details of this summation could actually fill a volume as large as War and Peace. Suffice to say; from that day forward, Michelle and I were trying to get as much information out of “Anamaris” as possible. Michelle was able to obtain Raquel’s Dr’s names: Dr’s Chen and Ueda : (see dm’s to Michelle http://yfrog.com/h0o8np ) which are both common names at UCSF. No first names were given but Michelle did google those names and found them to be Dr’s on staff at UCSF. Yes, it was “googlable”. So, as I discovered was the treatment that Anamaris was posting on her timeline. All, was very googlable. We were on high alert by this time and pretty sure this was a scam, but we were being ultra cautious.
Ok, this MAY turn into “War and Peace”; Michelle and I also spent hours checking out A multitude of LIES that Anamaris had told Michelle. For example the one about being a bail bonds person in Texas. No go there either. We tried to give every opportunity for this story to be true. It was not to be.
I could go on with the BS dm’s Anamaris sent me, and Michelle but, I think we are finished here. Michelle emailed me her dm’s which has been terribly handy since Anamaris deleted them all. We have referred back to them many times. Oddly enough, she did not delete mine. I guess I was not on her radar as much as Michelle was. I don’t know. Who’s to know what is in the mind of , what I believe to be, a terribly ill person?
Oh, additionally, I asked a pal of mine, who is connected, to check this out. He actually did not get back to me until after Brooks posted this but he has a Dr. Friend in San Francisco who checked the data base at UCSF and NO Raquel! None! She does not exist.
What is the moral of this story? I don’t know. “Trust but Verify” or “Verify then Trust”? Brooks planted the seed with Jo Von Ho, and he planted the seed with this fraud. Truth is, Michelle and I knew this was likely a scam going back to 12/22/10 and I feel like a wuss for not stepping up sooner. It wasn’t until Michelle and Brooks started tweeting this out this morning that I stepped up. My instincts are good, they rarely fail me, and I won’t get VonHoed again! Additionally, next time I will speak up sooner. I did post a comment on Anthony Martin’s (@Welshman007 on twitter) first blog post imploring him to check into this. Since no money was apparently asked for, it was ignored. In true wuss fashion, I posted it as Kristen Noel. Wuss no more. These are the facts nothing but the facts and I do attest to them. Anyone want to see proof and I will post dm’s, though that would then truly make this War and Peace.
So, there you have it. War and Peace II plus an addendum. Any additional questions and you can contact me at @hipEchik on twitter. Thank you Brooks for posting this, and for reminding me, of what is right, the truth. Thank you Michelle for being my friend and fellow sleuth! The truth prevailed! Thank you all for your prayers. Whoever did this truly needs them