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10 People Who Faked Their Own Kidnapping for Shocking Reasons

Faked Kidnapping

Faking your own kidnapping may seem outrageous, but it is a rather popular route people undertake when faced with dire circumstances. Though the official number of such hoaxes is unknown, they are far more common than one may realize. It may be hard to believe for someone of reasonable mind the length at which people can go to cover up for something of which they are ashamed, afraid, or embarrassed about, but people do such things. Here’s a list of 10 people who faked their own kidnapping for shocking reasons.

1. Robert Brandel lost a Super Bowl bet. As a result, he owed the winner $50,000. To avoid paying the huge sum, he tied himself in the backseat of his car and alleged to have been robbed and kidnapped at gunpoint.

Robert Brandel
Robert Brandel. Image credits: New York State Police, Anthony Quintano/Wikimedia

When police responded to a 911 call from a person who saw Robert Brandel tied up in the back of a truck, they expected to find the duct-taped man disheveled and anxious. However, they were surprised by the victim’s calm demeanor.

During the investigation, Brandel claimed to have been robbed off of $ 16,000 at gunpoint by two men he had been gambling with. The men then kidnapped him and forced him to drive around western New York. After two days, the alleged kidnappers tied him up in the backseat of the truck and left him in the car park.

Brandel had cooked up a perfect story that seemed believable at first. However, his “clean-shaven” face gave the officers enough reason to doubt his narrative. Who gets to groom their face when being kidnapped for almost three days? Thirty-five minutes into the investigation, Brandel gave-in and revealed that he faked his own kidnapping to avoid paying $50,000 to the winner of the Super Bowl bet that he lost. (1, 2)

2. Alejandro Mario Cortes, a Mexican citizen, conspired to apply for a US immigration visa based on a kidnapping report. To fake the kidnapping, he traveled from Illinois to Minnesota with an aide and spent several days at a storage facility before turning up, duct-taped in St. Paul.

Mario Cortes
Mario Cortes. Image credits: Twincities.com

Mario Cortes was illegally residing in the US in Chicago, Illinois. To get a legal visa, he sought help from an accomplice and staged his kidnapping to become eligible for a special visa handed out to crime victims.

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He planned to apply for the visa based on the police report that he was kidnapped from his home in Chicago and left in St. Paul. To carry out his plan, he traveled to Minnesota all the way from Illinois with his co-conspirator and stayed there for several days at a storage facility.

Later, he made his accomplice tie his hands and mouth and leave him in St. Paul. There he was spotted by a snowplow driver.

During the investigation, to add credibility to his story, he also claimed to have received threats through messages in the days leading up to the kidnapping. (1, 2)

3. A boy in France avoided going to the dentist by hiding in a village. When found, he claimed to have been kidnapped. He told the police that he hid in the village after escaping from his abductors in Bagnols. He confessed to lying and faking the kidnapping after a month-long police investigation.

On his way to the dentist, this 12-year-old hid in St. Gervais village to avoid the dreaded appointment. When found by the police, the boy used his imagination and came up with a creative story of how he escaped from Bagnols after being kidnapped by a muscular European man in his 30s. He added a finer detail to his villain – a vertical scar on the right cheek. He also vividly described the abductor’s clothes and car.

The police investigated the case for a month before becoming suspicious after checking security footage at Bagnols. When confronted, the boy confessed to making up the story and doing all this so he didn’t have to go to the dentist. (1, 2)

4. A Spanish driver spent all his earnings on sex and drugs. The money he spent was supposed to go to the rental service company he worked for. To cover-up for the missing fund, he claimed to have been forced by his abductors to spend the money at the club after being kidnapped.

Spanish driver
Spanish driver spent all his earnings on sex and drugs.

A driver in Spain spent his entire earnings at a strip club on prostitutes and drugs. After running out of cash, he sold his motorbike to continue to fund his night out. When his better sense prevailed, he realized he had blown away all the money, money that was supposed to go to the company he drove for.

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To cover up for the missing funds and his absence at work the next day, he made up a fairytale of being robbed by a customer who kidnapped and forced him to spend all his earnings at the club and later locked him in his garage for a few hours.

However, police quickly saw through the gaps in the story after they confirmed that he drove to his friend’s house to sell the motorbike. Workers at the club also confirmed that he willingly paid for the prostitutes and was under no duress. (source)

5. When Jessica Nordquist’s ex-boyfriend received emails from a group claiming to have kidnapped and raped her, police launched an investigation to search for her. However, she was found safe with disguise kits at her home in Whitechapel, London. She had faked her kidnapping as she was infatuated with him and went on a revenge spree after their relationship ended.

Jessica Nordquist
Jessica Nordquist and Mark Weeks. Image credits: Central News via Dailymail

This vengeful ex’s long list of actions to ruin the life of the man who dumped her includes stalking, online harassment, sham kidnapping, faking a pregnancy, and a rape accusation.

Nordquist met Mark Weeks while working for a PR firm in East London. Weeks’ trouble began after their relationship ended and Nordquist undertook a cyberbullying campaign against him. She accused him of rape and faked pregnancy with a fake baby bump.

She then went on to fake her kidnapping by a gang of criminals. For this, she sent her colleagues, friends, and Weeks emails, which appeared to be from the gang, claiming to have kidnapped and raped her. She even attached naked photos of herself bound and gagged.

After being found alone and unharmed at her home, she was arrested and sentenced to four years of imprisonment for abusing and stalking her ex-boyfriend. (1, 2)

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