Media company publishes cruel lie about a “military widow”

Mary McHugh mourns her dead fiance Sgt. James Regan at "Section 60" of the Arlington National Cemetery May 27, 2007. Regan, an American Special Forces soldier, was killed by an IED explosion in Iraq in February of this year, and this was the first time McHugh had visited the grave since the funeral. Section 60, the newest portion of the vast national cemetery on the outskirts of Washington D.C, contains hundreds of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Photo by John Moore)

The popular rumor-buster website SNOPES has dashed the dreams of the public with another hoax-report on a would-be lottery winner, after her story was shared thousands of times on social media.

Shortly after the announcement on January 13, that three lucky winners would share the record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot, the fakers and haters along with one legitimate winner, began to surface.

United Media Publishing, a fake news site notorious for pranking people through trending news, to drive traffic to their website, has done it again.

The article, “Military Widow Comes Forward With Winning Powerball Ticket In Florida,” was written by Lucas Wagner and published on January 16, 2015.

Military Widow hoax

A cruel joke to play on an otherwise deserving mom, the media group shared the exciting outcome for Candice Withers, a 32-year-old military widow who would benefit greatly by her Powerball success.

‘Withers’ winning played on the heartstrings of thousands who read her story. What a great turn of tides for a young widow of an Iraqi war hero who died in combat. Now she will have the money to raise her children and go on with her life, instead of struggling…and surprise! She didn’t win!

What’s worse, the entire story was a hoax! There is no Candice Withers and her husband, Derek Withers, according to Honor the Fallen, never existed, much less died for his country.

United Media Publishing claims to specialize in news on policing and terrorism, reporting stories that are up to date and appear real, otherwise trustworthy. Take the time to compare the stories there to other reputable reports of the news on the same stories and it becomes obvious, their facts are not shared in other news streams. Their facts are purely fictitious.

The good news is that the Powerball hoax by United Media did not hurt a bereaved single-mom of six, but it did make fools of readers who believed in her miracle.  Unfortunately, the damage can not be undone as the story has already been shared thousands of times on social media.

Fake Powerball Story
Dysfunctional Veterans, a Facebook page followed by hundreds of thousands of veterans, shared this image of the story.

According to the lottery there are winning tickets that remain unclaimed, one purchased in California and the other in Florida. One winner has come forward thus far, John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee.

Two-thirds of the Powerball fortune remains “up for grabs”.

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  • Penny M. Polokoff-Kreps earned her BA in Sociology from Queens College of the City University of New York. She is a published author, speaker, FL Supreme Court mediator, and a Guardian ad Litem. She runs a non-profit with her husband, a Vietnam veteran, providing nutritional supplements for veteran cancer survivors, and supporting veterans in obtaining service dogs. She is passionate about veteran's issues especially those related to PTSD and mental health.

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