The alleged "mastermind" behind the fake girlfriend hoax perpetrated on Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o appeared on NBC reality show, "The Voice," and may have tricked others as well.
The star athlete's fake girlfriend, "Lennay Kekua," is reportedly a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who duped the country into thinking Te'o's girlfriend had died the same day he lost his grandmother. As Us Weekly reports, this wasn't the first time Tuiasosopo has tugged on America's heartstrings. The prankster is apparently an aspiring singer and appeared on the upcoming season of TV singing contest "The Voice" where the man told judges an inspirational hard luck story.
"He had this insane sob story before [he sang]," a source told the magazine.
Here's Tuiasosopo's tale of woe:
He and his cousins were once in a Christian band together. The band was driving in a van on the way to perform at a youth center - ala "Breakin 2" - when they were involved in a serious accident that sent the vehicle flipping off the freeway. One of the band members was thought to be brain dead, but thanks to the "miracle of miracles," everyone was fine! Whew!
In light of Te'o's story, an insider speaking to Us Weekly, says that now "people now think the sob story is fake."
The insider added that Tuiasosopo had "passed a background check and psych evaluation," which is standard routine for being on reality TV, but that "nothing came up, no suspicious behavior," the source said.
That "Voice" sob story may have been emblematic of Tuiasosopo's predilection for fleecing just about anyone he saw fit; he may have also hoaxed other unsuspecting men, according to ABC News.
Speaking with "Good Morning America" Friday, "Catfish" movie director and actor Ariel Schulman said he believes there may have been "a few other people duped by the fake Lennay character."
With his brother Nev, Schulman has been investigating the entire fake girlfriend scam, corresponding with numerous players involved. According to the Schulmans, there were "a lot of other people that she was corresponding with before and maybe even during her relationship [with Te'o]."
The questions on everyone's minds now are: Was Te'o an unwitting victim, as he claims? Or was he complicit in the prank?
"I stand by the guy. My heart goes out to him," Ariel Schulman said.
"He had his heart broken," Schulman said. "He was grieving for someone, whether she existed or not. Those were real feelings."
Since news broke of the fake girlfriend hoax, Te'o has been maintaining a low profile, avoiding media, and only releasing a statement calling the situation "incredibly embarrassing."
Various questions still remain regarding the timeline of events and exactly when Te'o discovered his girlfriend was nothing more than fake Internet persona.
Te'o found out his girlfriend wasn't real on Dec. 6, according to Notre Dame's timeline of events. However, in a Dec. 8 interview with an Indiana TV station, Te'o said, "I really got hit with cancer. I lost both my grandparents an my girlfriend to cancer." Then again on Dec. 11, he spoke about his girlfriend in a newspaper interview, ABC News notes.
According to Notre Dame, Te'o notified them about the scam on Dec. 26.
Te'o's father, Brian Te'o, also made comments to a newspaper that his son's girlfriend had visited the linebacker in Hawaii.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says the university has launched their own investigation.
"Our investigators, through their work, were able to discover online chatter between the perpetrators," Swarbrick said. "That was sort of the ultimate proof."