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Mastermind Behind Manti Te'o Hoax Revealed?

Mastermind Behind Manti Te'o Hoax Revealed?


Airdate: 01/18/2013

INSIDE EDITION is learning more about the bizarre Manti Te’o hoax scandal that's baffling the nation.

Could a friend of Te’o’s be the man behind it?

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a friend of Manti Te’o who's an aspiring singer, could be the man. The sports website Deadspin.com says he's the alleged mastermind behind the fake girlfriend hoax.

Now Manti Te’o's uncle Alema is blasting Tuiasosopo and says he should be prosecuted in a radio interview.

"I smelled him as a bad rat from the get-go and I’m not afraid to come out and say that. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is a liar, he concocted the whole thing. He's lied every step of the way,” said Alema.

Tuiasosopo is the son of a pastor, and was so proud of his singing that he tried out for NBC's hit show The Voice, but didn't get a single vote from any of the judges.

In high school, he was a popular student. Yearbook photos show him in the drama club and he was voted class vice president.

He went to Paraclete High School in Lancaster, California, which is also the high school where Diane O'Meara, whose Facebook was hijacked and became the face of Te’o’s supposed dead girlfriend Lennay Kekua attended and she doesn't even know the Notre Dame star.

INSIDE EDITION caught up with Diane O'Meara, who's an innocent victim in the hoax because unknown to her, her identity had been hijacked. She declined to talk to INSIDE EDITION.

WFAN radio personality Craig Carton told INSIDE EDITION, "No one knows who this Tuiasosopo kid is anyway. But, there is no way this whole thing got perpetrated, in my opinion without Te'o being involved."

Te’o says he learned on December 6 last year that he'd been duped and that his "girlfriend" never existed. But two days after that, at the Heisman Trophy awards on December 8, he was still pushing the dead-girlfriend story.

"I don't like cancer at all. Both my grandparents, and my girlfriend had cancer," he said.

While many are skeptical about Te’o's story that he was scammed, others believe he was an innocent victim like in the movie Catfish, where an internet pretender builds an elaborate fake life to fool a victim.

INSIDE EDITION’s Les Trent spoke to Catfish executive producer Ariel Schulman:

Schulman said, "I believe Manti completely."

Trent replied, "Really?"

Schulman said, "You ask any guy, 20 years old, a little younger, a little older and he will tell you some of his deepest communications are online and strictly online."

Manti Te’o was spotted in a golf cart in Florida, working out before the NFL draft.

Now, questions are being raised about how the bizarre controversy will impact his pro football career.

Michael Strahan said on Live! With Kelly and Michael, “He is a first round pick, but does he stay a first round pick? They may go, 'Well, we don't know. The guy maybe tackling people that are not there.'”


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