Watch CBS News

Woman Accused Of Running Holy Fire Scheme, Bilking Thousands From Neighbors

SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA) — A San Clemente community is shocked after learning a local woman is accused of running a scheme to bilk thousands of dollars from people seeking to help firefighters battling the Holy Fire.

Detectives say Ashley Bemis pretended to be married to a firefighter and posted a call for donations for firefighters battling the blaze; they say she ran the alleged scheme on Facebook until authorities got involved.

Detectives say Bemis collected donated items at drop-off locations throughout South County. Residents took notice and warned others to stop donating,

"I am in shock. That is all I can say," neighbor Shaylee Florentino said.

Detectives confirmed this isn't the first time Bemis has been accused of running a scheme. They say she pretended to be pregnant, even using a fake baby bump to have pictures taken in another instance. Other Facebook posts appear to show Bemis pretending to be the birth mother of children she was nannying, according to authorities.

Detectives executed a search warrant on Bemis' apartment and garages and found $11,000 in donated items.

They believe there are more victims out there and ask anyone with information to contact authorities.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.