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Woman charged in fake pregnancy scam

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POSTED: August 17, 2007 5:03 a.m.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Clarissa Linnabary showed the store manager ultrasound photos of the quadruplets she claimed to be carrying and wondered aloud how she could afford them on her husband's Marine Corps pay.
She left Miss Luci's consignment shop in Kingsland with a used couch and chair discounted to $80 and more free baby furniture _ cribs, high chairs and car seats _ than she could take home in a single trip.
About seven months later, 27-year-old Linnabary of St. Marys ended up going to jail rather than the maternity ward.
Camden County authorities say she faked her pregnancy to scam more than $2,000 in donated goods and cash from sympathetic strangers. The ruse, investigators say, fooled even her husband.
"It wouldn't even dawn on me that someone would lie about that," said Lucille Sigler, the consignment store manager who gave Linnabary about $1,000 worth of merchandise. "My heart goes out to her, because she's really dug herself into a deep hole."
Linnabary was arrested July 24 and charged with felony theft by deception. She was released from jail on $3,500 bond.
Lt. William Terrell of the Camden County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that deputies and Navy investigators from Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base got an anonymous tip that Linnabary was soliciting help by lying about being pregnant with quadruplets.
She received $2,000 to $2,500 worth of goods _ most of it donated merchandise and services, as well as about $400 in cash, Terrell said. The goods came from local businesses and Navy and Marine families at Kings Bay, where Linnabary's husband is stationed.
"People really thought this woman was in need, and it's shameful the way she bilked the county," he said.
Terrell said Linnabary confessed to investigators she wasn't pregnant. Her husband, Marine Lance Cpl. Vernon Linnabary, wasn't charged in the scam. Investigators say they believe his wife fooled him too.
"I think he found out when everybody else found out," Terrell said.
Linnabary does not have a listed telephone number in St. Marys, a coastal city in Georgia's southeast corner near the Florida state line, and The Associated Press was unable to determine whether she has an attorney.
Linnabary told the Georgia Times-Union in a story published May 6 that she was expecting identical twin sons and fraternal twin daughters. She said she had names picked out for all four _ Vernon IV, Joseph Jeremy, Elizabeth Rose and Victoria Caroline.
She also told the newspaper she and her husband hoped to get a good deal on a vehicle capable of carrying four car seats and mentioned she had registered for baby gifts at Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart's online gift registry showed Linnabary had registered for dozens of items, including two $129 changing tables, four $119 cribs and three $98 bassinets.
"I've been so stressed out about how we are going to get baby seats, cribs, clothes, everything," said Linnabary, who told the newspaper she was 22 weeks into her pregnancy.
Months earlier, Sigler said, Linnabary had told her that she was five-months pregnant when she came with her husband to the consignment shop looking to buy for a couch and chair sometime around Christmas.
Sigler said Linnabary told her she was pregnant and showed her four ultrasound photos _ one for each quadruplet. And she told Sigler she and her husband weren't getting much assistance from the military.
"She said they didn't have anything. They had just moved here from Virginia and, because he was so low in rank, the money wasn't there," Sigler said. "Of course I gave her stuff."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press
 

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