The Lady’s Island woman investigators say faked a quintuple pregnancy to trick people out of more than $1,000 in cash and gifts was taken into federal custody Monday morning and likely faces deportation.
Nancy Cantu, whose real name is Erika Nieves-Abrigo, pleaded guilty Oct. 23 to one count of obtaining goods under false pretenses and was released on time served into the custody of federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, according to Beaufort County court records.
“She had a hold on her from immigration, so once her charges in Beaufort County were satisfied, we called them and they came down and picked her up,” said Phil Foot, director of the Beaufort County Detention Center.
Foot said Cantu was taken to an ICE facility in Charleston, where she will be held for the remainder of her immigration proceedings, which could end in her deportation to Mexico.
Cantu and Juan Salvador Solis, who claimed to have fathered the children, said they were pregnant with quintuplets in December and received gifts and donations as their story spread, in part with stories about the couple in The Beaufort Gazette and The (Hilton Head) Island Packet.
An ultrasound taken by Cantu in January at the behest of Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators revealed the pregnancy to be a hoax.
Cantu and Solis were arrested for obtaining goods under false pretenses and were jailed at the Beaufort County Detention Center on $25,000 bonds.
The case against Solis is still being sorted out. There is question whether he is an adult or a minor. He and Cantu gave so many stories, not just about being pregnant with quintuplets, that they have caused confusion for prosecutors and law enforcement.
If Cantu isn’t a US citizen, she deserves deportation. The same goes for her ‘husband’. No tears should be shed for them. I still won’t give a free pass to the newspapers who helped these con artists fool people. There were enough red flags to raise suspicion, and just a tiny bit of internet research would have told The Beaufort Gazette that this had to be a hoax. Lazy ass reporting caused some people to be taken advantage of. Too bad the newspaper could not be charged as an accessory. If stupidity was a crime, everyone would be in jail.