Lisa Hayden Johnson
Lisa Hayden Johnson had grown accustomed to the luxury of other people's sympathy after her son was born dangerously premature. Once he began to heal, the fame-hungry British mother appeared on daytime television to inform viewers that her son was now suffering from a life-threatening food allergy that left him unable to eat.
"What a brave little boy," thought the countless viewers and talk show hosts Johnson fooled into showering her and her son with gifts. She spoke to magazines, was given free tickets to live tapings and accepted multiple cars and cruises from charity foundations. Of course the innocent boy at the center of all this believed in his imaginary condition. He'd spent his life hooked up feeding tube he never needed, plopped down into a wheelchair he learned to rely on, and even received the Children of Courage Award from British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife.
After six years, doctors became suspicious of the boy's lack of symptoms and demanded to perform further testing. In an effort to delay this from happening, Johnson falsely claimed that she'd been sexually assaulted. The hospital, however, discovered that Johnson had been "spiking" her son's urine with glucose, and the Brixham native was publicly disgraced. Johnson was arrested in October 2007 on the charge of child cruelty and "perverting the system of justice." Despite public outrage, Johnson was given the lenient sentence of just over three years in prison.