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Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams-Paisley Fall for 'Dying Daughter' Hoax

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on November 08, 2013 9:50 AM

Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Brad Paisley fell victim to a twisted "dying daughter" hoax that has been making the rounds in Hollywood.

The hoax involved a woman who claimed her young daughter was dying of neuroblastoma, a severe type of childhood cancer.

But did the woman behind the hoax actually commit a crime?

"Carrie" and "Claire"

The twisted tale began when Williams-Paisley allegedly received an email from a woman, "Carrie," who claimed that her 8-year-old daughter, "Claire," wanted her mom to contact the "Nashville" actress to let her know how much she loved a song from the show, reports ABC's "Nightline."

The actress and Carrie exchanged several emails, phone calls, and texts; Carrie also sent photographs of Claire and snippets of the little girl's journal. Upon Carrie's request, Brad Paisley even got on the phone to sing "Amazing Grace" to her daughter.

No Happy Ending

Ultimately, the story unraveled when Carrie told the Paisleys that Claire had died. The couple asked for an address to send flowers, but Claire refused to give them one and even told them she didn't need their prayers, reports "Nightline."

The photos were actually taken from websites. "Carrie" was actually Hope Lyn Jackson, a woman from Wyoming who has been pulling the cancer hoax on famous and ordinary people for nearly five years.

False Pretenses

In general, faking an illness by itself isn't illegal. It's when you solicit donations or receive gifts -- such as a free wedding -- by faking an illness when you can get into trouble.

Carrie's email to Williams-Paisley explicitly stated that neither Claire nor her family wanted anything from the star. After all, she wouldn't even accept flowers from the couple when "Claire" passed away.

But then there was the song. Paisley sang "Amazing Grace" to her over the phone under false pretenses. She used fraud to get him, a professional performer, to sing. So that's what Jackson pled guilty to (and got five years probation for).

But more than anything, Jackson seemed to have carried on the hoax merely to get attention from the Paisleys and other celebrities, including Kate Gosselin, the band Little Big Town, and "Wipeout's" John Henson, to name a few.

According to a psychiatrist interviewed by "Nightline," Jackson may have had an online version of Munchausen syndrome, a mental illness that involves feigning or intentionally contracting illnesses. Perhaps that would've been grounds for an insanity plea?

It's weird, it's twisted, but above all, it's just kind of sad.

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