You just knew that the weird story about Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham and the woman claiming to be his fiancee - even though he had never met the woman before - had another crazy twist in it.
How about this one: The woman claiming to be his fiancee didn't even exist.
The Big Lead looked into "Erica Mendez," the woman with the website, Twitter and Instagram accounts claiming to be a model. The woman told an explosive story to Radar Online about how her fiancee Beckham took her on trips around the world and cheated on her with strippers. In a turn of events we've heard about before in various ways, there is no woman named Erica Mendez, the Big Lead said. Mendez is nothing but an Internet persona.
Whatever scam was being run on Beckham, he didn't fall for it. He and his family said the day after the Radar Online story came out that he never even met that woman, and considering she doesn't exist, that seems to be accurate.
The woman in the photos claiming to be Mendez? The photos are of two different women from California, the Big Lead said. One of them is named Dior Patterson, two photographers who took photos that were being passed off as Mendez (without the photographers' permission) told the Big Lead. Patterson herself confirmed the photos were of her, used without her consent. Some of the other photos that were credited as being Mendez are actually of Patterson's cousin Jade Morning, and she also had no idea how her image started to be passed off online as "Erica Mendez."
The Big Lead said the hoax started in January with a new website that was supposedly owned by Mendez. Shortly after that, rumors began on sites that track groupie stories and after a while, the story that Beckham had a fiancee named Erica Mendez was born.
The Manti Te'o story from a little more than a year ago opened up a lot of possibilities of people going through incredible lengths to create fake personas to trap athletes for whatever reason. It's still unclear who was running this scam on Beckham or why. But, like Te'o, it appears he is the victim of a weird and relatively elaborate scheme to make up stories about him with no obvious goal for the person responsible for starting it.
It's just another cautionary tale to NFL players to be wary of the next scam that might be run on them. There are some crazy people out there who will go through some unbelievable lengths to pull it off.
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