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Manti Te'o Hoax

All SCAMS Lead to

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

1/17/2013 10:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

The Manti Te'o not-really-dead-girlfriend hoax was perpetuated by a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- who served as a representative for the family of the fake "Lennay Kekua" ... and TMZ has the photo proof.

Here's what we know ...

While Manti was "dating" Lennay ... a Notre Dame die-hard fan who we'll call "Jan" (to protect her identity) reached out to Lennay on Twitter and began an online friendship.

After Lennay's supposed death, Jan became involved with a group called "Wear a Lei 4 Manti" -- in which fans wore Hawaiian leis to ND football games to show their support for the football star.

When the "Wear a Lei 4 Manti" movement began to receive media attention, Jan says she noticed she gained a Twitter follower named U'ilani Rae Kekua.

Jan tells TMZ ... she reached out to U'ilani and asked if she was related to Lennay -- to which U'ilani replied, "Yes, that's my baby sister." The two became friends.

In fact, Jan says they both mentioned how they were going to attend the Notre Dame vs. USC game in L.A. on November 24, 2012  ... so Jan sent U'ilani her cell phone number in case she wanted to meet up.

Here's where the story takes a turn ... Jan tells TMZ she got a phone call from U'ilani on the day of the game directing her to the famous Tommy Trojan statue in front of the stadium, so they could meet up.

But when Jan arrived to the statue, U'ilani was NOT there ... but guess who was -- Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.  Jan and Ronaiah even took a photo together (see above).

According to the Deadspin article, Ronaiah was the person who obtained the photo of the woman everyone believed to be Lennay ... and is suspected of having a major role in the hoax.

Jan tells us Ronaiah was with a little girl during the USC meeting who they called Pookah -- and together, they explained how Lennay's sister couldn't come down to visit, so U'ilani sent them instead. Jan says Ronaiah "made it seem as if he was a member of Lennay's family."

After Jan and Ronaiah took the picture together -- Jan says Ronaiah began to act paranoid ... and told her, "Make sure you don't post this photo online."

Soon after the game, Jan says she was contacted by U'ilani ... who also urged her NOT to post the picture of Ronaiah. She didn't explain why.

U'ilani later sent a photo to Jan showing a woman at a cemetery -- and told her, "This is me and my family at Lennay's gravesite. We're spending the day here."

Clearly, the woman in the photo is not U'ilani ('cause she doesn't really exist) ... and some digging suggests the woman in the photo is actually a woman named Donna Tei, who doesn't seem to have a relationship with anyone involved in the hoax.

There's more ... Jan tells TMZ Lennay's "sister" continued to reach out to her after the USC game ... and delivered some more bad news -- that little Pookah had been diagnosed with lupus and was dying in a children's hospital in Orange County, CA.

Jan said she wanted to send flowers -- so Lennay's "sister" gave her an address. TMZ has learned the address belongs to a member of the Tuiasosopo family.

Jan also gave us the phone number Lennay's sister would use to contact her -- and we found out the number is registered to a man named Titus Tuiasosopo -- Ronaiah's father.

We tried to reach out to Ronaiah -- but we couldn't get a hold of him. So far, he has yet to comment to the media about the story.

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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This guy just needs to come clean. With all the publicity around her death, he never once mentioned that he had never met her, that a girl by that name didn't exist, and that there was no funeral. Didn't he wonder why there was no funeral?

645 days ago


This all rivals the best of the best Soap Opera plots

645 days ago

really! really?    

Still no clear motive. The story keeps getting more complex but why would these people go to such lengths to perpetrate this hoax? Did they ask for money for the funeral? Did they ask for money for any other reason? Without a motive, this sounds far-fetched and unbelievable...

645 days ago


I guess the ultimate goal was to get money out of him? People don't fall in love unless you have actually seen the person, and verified their existence, simple rules to live by.

645 days ago

Obamais still aracist    

this whole thing is a mess,let me know when the dust settles

645 days ago

HRH Prince Michael    

Aside from the fact that he seems like a good guy who got caught-up in a college prank?
AGAIN: While our once Godly-blessed nation slowly
and surely drowns in the blood of We, The People,
the "government"-subservient Print/Broadcast "Media" cunningly diverts the masses attention
on these college-student antics?

Of course, Norte Dame SEALED their fate when they INVITED the most Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexual, and ANTI-CHRISTIAN politician in U.S. history, to give a commencement speech.
BOW, to YOUR Pharaoh now, Notre Dame.

The House of David 2 Chronicles 13 Victory, is HERE: http://www.all4webs.com/x/w/all4yahweh
NOW, The Most Holy Christ King Yeshua reigns!

645 days ago

Celeb Gossip Addict    

Damn. This guy is a lunatic.

645 days ago

paul a.    

I must be getting old. Will someone explain this story to me?

I got a headache.......

645 days ago


The media is gonna push that guy Manti over the edge with all of this "scandal" talk. Remember the last person who got pranked on a global scale hung themselves. Unless he was collecting money, I don't see the big deal. Ease up.

645 days ago


as i have said.something about this story doesnt jive.all along this guy in this story was the one suspected of being part of it.but it still doesnt explain why te'os dad said that the girl would visit teo and his family in hawaii and so forth.

645 days ago


talk about having no life and tons of time on your hands.this here is beyond trolling someone.this person went above and beyond to keep the hoax going.an fbi investigation needs to be had wonder if the guy had ever done this before for money?

645 days ago


Jan's face on Ronaiah's shoulder - normal pose with someone you just met in person or TMZ blacked out Jan's whole face and body.

645 days ago


Manti was catfished. On an epic scale.

645 days ago


Holy cow!
Rick told Tina that James wasn't going to go with Jennifer but Jennifer's mom Linda said that her cousin Tony told her friend Tracy that Jeremy wasn't talking to Amy anymore so Jason got mad and went online and made an alias "Ben" and hooked up with a woman named Mary but her alias on the computer was "Sarah" so her friend Ron tried to...

645 days ago


I am not following this at all. Was money involved?

645 days ago
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