Meaghan, 25, deceived her family and friends for more than a year, telling them she had been diagnosed with incurable cancer. She carried out the ruse even as her stepmother created a fundraising page that attracted $5,000 in donations for her, and her close friends showed support and solidarity by shaving their heads and getting matching tattoos.
Then the truth came out — it was all a lie. Meaghan didn’t have cancer. Ultimately, Meaghan was charged with grand theft and fraud. She pleaded not guilty.
Why would this young woman dupe the people closest to her? In the video above, she takes Dr. Phil through the moment she decided to lie about having a life-threatening disease.
Meaghan says at the time, she was grieving the loss of four people to whom she was very close. “I think, one day, I was in a very dark place and I didn’t feel like I had that unconditional love or support, and I wanted it,” she recalls. “The thought process was just that I wanted someone to pay attention.”
Meaghan says she first lied to her stepmother and father, and then her closest friends, who spread the word. Two months later, the news was out.
“There’s a point at which you said, ‘This is working. It’s getting me what I want,’” Dr. Phil says.
“I cannot every think of a time I thought those things,” Meaghan says. “But, yes. It was obvious that it was having the effect of those things that I had always wanted … I didn’t ever think in my head, Oh, this is really working. It was more of, this is something that I lied about, and I didn’t know how to stop.”
Dr. Phil points out that this wasn’t a rash decision, like Meaghan has said before. “This was something that was premeditated, and you sustained this lie in stages over 14 months,” he says. “You could have lied your way out of the lie.”
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