Brad Paisley and wife Kimberly Williams Paisley were victims of a hoax by a scam artist pretending that her daughter was dying of cancer, according to abcnews.com.
Hope Jackson was arrested and jailed in Douglas, Wyo. for a felony charge of theft of services after having Paisley sing “Amazing Grace” over the phone to her fictitious dying child. The woman was allegedly using photographs taken from various websites to commit this and other scams on unsuspecting victims for the past 4 or 5 years. Her lies included stories with children’s drawings, photos, and an elaborate tale of her little girl’s illness of neuroblastoma. Instead of asking for money, the woman apparently simply craved attention from celebrities and other caring people.
“She used fraud to get him to sing,” Kimberly Williams-Paisley told Nightline. “That was the crime that was committed.”
“I think that’s sicker,” Brad Paisley added. “I would have welcomed the thought that this was something as simple as a woman scheming.”
Jackson had also approached Wipeout host John Henson with her story, which is how the fraud eventually came to light when he became suspicious and alerted Nightline execs to the story. The woman had also fooled Little Big Town, Mandisa, Kate Gosselin, Natalie Grant, and others with her story of a gravely ill child. The Paisleys spoke out to Nightline about the hoax but also expressed concern that this not deter celebrities from helping others in need in the future.
“That’s a huge part of why I do what I do is so that I can use my influence for good and to help,” Kimberly Williams-Paisley said. “And if there is someone that I can help, I will help.”
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