Manti Te'o hoax: Twitter user Al Vaosa says he knew about scandal back in 2008

By Staff K 0

  • Al Vaosa - who posts on Twitter as jayRahz - says he knew the story was a hoax back in 2008
  • He claims he was not involved in the scandal
  • Numerous tweets show Vaosa and a relative making jokes about fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua

By Daniel Bates and Jeff Maysh

PUBLISHED: 21:19 EST, 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 07:39 EST, 18 January 2013

One of the key players in the Manti Te'o fake girlfriend scandal is a youth leader at his Christian Church and former pharmacy lab technician, MailOnline can reveal.

Al Vaosa, who tweets under the username jayRahz, joked about her and even said he was 'running her profile' last December.

He has even said on Twitter that he knew it was all a hoax back in 2008.

Vaosa claims at that point that he severed all ties with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who is the main suspect of being the person behind Lennay Kekua, even though she did not actually exist.

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In on it? Al Vaosa, left, has posted on Twitter that he has known about the hoax, and severed ties with Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, right, who is the main suspect in the scheme

Victim? The report about Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend stunned the nation

Victim? The report about Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend stunned the nation

It is not currently known what the relationship between the two of them is or when it began.

Vaosa, 28, who is also known as J.R., casts himself as a responsible young adult but he
has questions to answer over his role in how Te'o, the star linebacker with Notre Dame college, was apparently duped - and if he was not involved why he did nothing to stop it.

In particular, Vaosa tweeted that Kekua was a fake two days before Te'o found out - and at one point even appears to admit responsibility for the whole thing.

At the family home, which is in an estate of cheaply made prefab houses, a woman who identified herself as Jen, J.R's sister, told MailOnline that the family had been overwhelmed with attention in the last 24 hours.

She said: 'He is not here. He is innocent, he wasn't the one behind the hoax.'

She went on to say, 'It's not him, he's not responsible for it.'

Home: Al Vaosa's home is pictured in Carson, California. A woman at the home told MailOnline that she is his sister and that he is not involved in the Te'o hoax

Home: Al Vaosa's home is pictured in Carson, California. A woman at the home told MailOnline that she is his sister and that he is not involved in the Te'o hoax

Tuiasosopo remains the main suspect in the bizarre story which has led to a 24-hour cat and mouse game on the Internet after it was was first reported by Deadspin.com on Wednesday afternoon.

Te'o appears to have maintained a relationship with Kekua for a year before her death in September from leukemia while he was leading his team to glory in an undefeated run to the BCS championship - turning him into the season's star.

The death was six hours after his beloved grandmother died and sparked a groundswell of support from fans and the public at large.

Te'o found out about the hoax on December 6 but it has now become public and dragged in at least two other football players, former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Mauia and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

Now the spotlight has turned to Vaosa.

Front and center: Vaosa has been thrust into the spotlight over his knowledge of the hoax, thanks to his Twitter feed

Scandal foetold: A tweet from December 4 implies that Vaosa knew about the scandal long before it came to light

Scandal foetold: A tweet from December 4 implies that Vaosa knew about the scandal long before it came to light

More than meets the eye: In another tweet from Vaosa on December 5, he gives The New Notre Dame Nation a possible tip-off about the story

More than meets the eye: In another tweet from Vaosa on December 5, he gives The New Notre Dame Nation a possible tip-off about the story

Reality TV: Catfish was the 2010 documentary about the dangers of internet hoaxes

Reality TV: Catfish was the 2010 documentary about the dangers of internet hoaxes

On December 4, two nights before Te’o found out the news, Vaosa Tweeted: 'The person behind @LennayKay created the leukemia death story cause of @WhatIsCatfish' - Catfish was the 2010 film about the dangers of Internet hoaxes.

The next night, 24 hours before the hoax was exposed, Vaosa appears to have become paranoid and Tweeted: ‘It's so hard to tweet like nothing is going on LOL'

He added: 'I seriously believe we're being watched!! No joke!' and also added: 'Omgah now I'm getting a blocked # calling me.'

The most interesting Tweet of all comes from Vaosa himself who on December 12 wrote to a relative named Celeste, whose tag is @ceeweezy51: 'aka *goes back to running @LennayKay's profile* lmfao'

Jokes: The most interesting Tweet of all comes from Vaosa himself who on December 12 wrote to a relative named Celeste, whose tag is @ceeweezy51: 'aka *goes back to running @LennayKay's profile* lmfao'

Jokes: The most interesting Tweet of all comes from Vaosa himself who on December 12 wrote to a relative named Celeste, whose tag is @ceeweezy51: 'aka *goes back to running @LennayKay's profile* lmfao'

Personal life: On Twitter Vaosa reveals that he is gay and writes: 'If being gay was a choice I swear i'd be straight.. to many bxtches in the gay community.. man tf up!'

Personal life: On Twitter Vaosa reveals that he is gay and writes: 'If being gay was a choice I swear i'd be straight.. to many bxtches in the gay community.. man tf up!'

Workforce: Public records show that Vaosa was registered as a pharmacy technician with the Los Angeles County Board of Pharmacy between September 2009 and May 2011, though it is not clear why his license expired

Workforce: Public records show that Vaosa was registered as a pharmacy technician with the Los Angeles County Board of Pharmacy between September 2009 and May 2011, though it is not clear why his license expired

There are more references to Lennay Kekua in following days including one in which he jokes that he 'died and came back as Lennay Kekua hahahahaha'

There is also evidence that Vaosa has a history of trolling and in 2011 he posted a Twitpic of a Samoan man from a Skype call with the caption 'First Skype victim Troy.'

The Samoan man is topless in the picture, hinting to the fact he may have been having an intimate Skype call with someone and having his picture taken without his knowledge.

A second woman is also posted on Twitpic with the caption identifying her as the second 'Skype victim.'

The image Vaosa presents to his relatives however is very different and he writes on his Bebo page that is favorite time is 'when all the fam is together.'

He appears in photos with what looks like a T-shirt with his late grandfather's picture on it and writes on Twitter that he is a 'mammasboy.'

Job seeker: In an online resume, Vaosa claims to be a 'quick learner' who is good at file maintenance and is 'extremely organized'

Job seeker: In an online resume, Vaosa claims to be a 'quick learner' who is good at file maintenance and is 'extremely organized'

MailOnline can reveal that on his resume which has been uploaded online, he writes that he is: 'Looking for a full-time customer service position with a reputable company where I can utilize my cu' (computer skills)

Vaosa claims to be a 'quick learner' who is good at file maintenance and is 'extremely organized.'

He also has 'strong verbal communications’ and is computer proficient - as backed up by his prolific Tweeting.

The CV details how his jobs have included working as a clerk, an administrator at a youth club and a dispatcher for the emergency services.

From 2005 until now he had been a youth leader at the Community Christian Church in Carson where he he has been ‘helping local family and friends staying encouraged about life’, he writes.

Vaosa completed his GED at Fayetteville Technical Community College in North Carolina in 2004.

On Twitter he reveals that he is gay and writes: 'If being gay was a choice I swear i'd be straight.. to many bxtches in the gay community.. man tf up!'

He says he does not have any gay friends because they are too 'mean' and bemoans the fact gay men from his native Samoa are too 'catty' for his tastes.

Public records show that Vaosa was registered as a pharmacy technician with the Los Angeles County Board of Pharmacy between September 2009 and May 2011, though it is not clear why his license expired.

Off the field: An investigation by Notre Dame revealed that Te'o was the victim of online predators who invented not only the death of Kekua, but her actual existence

Off the field: An investigation by Notre Dame revealed that Te'o was the victim of online predators who invented not only the death of Kekua, but her actual existence

Vaosa also has a criminal conviction, though records do not specify what it was.

Vaosa did not respond to multiple tweets or emails.

When MailOnline called the number on his resume, we were told: 'It’s the wrong number' by a woman who then hung up.

In posts to friends on his Facebook page he has written: ‘LMFAOOO IT WASN'T ME!'

Today he tweeted: 'Okay this is getting way out of hand.. everybody is tweeting that i had something to do with this scandal.. thats so far from the truth!

A post on his Facebook page from today reads: 'As messed up as it is, my prayers go out to everybody involved and affected by this Lennay Kekua scandal!! On to more important things.. 49ERS this wknd!!'

Denial: In posts to friends on his Facebook page Vaosa has written: 'LMFAOOO IT WASN'T ME!'

Finger-pointing: In several tweets, Vaosa mentions Ronaiah Tuiasosopo by name as the person behind the fake persona

Finger-pointing: In several tweets, Vaosa mentions Ronaiah Tuiasosopo by name as the person behind the fake persona

Twitter trouble: Vaosa mentioned the scandal as he watched Notre Dame take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship

Twitter trouble: Vaosa mentioned the scandal as he watched Notre Dame take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship

He has also Tweeted: 'Everyone needs to hit up Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and get the truth.. the truth will set you free!!' and 'Perhaps we should have NOT been joking about being @LennayKay cause now people are really believing and retweeting it.'

Vaosa's involvement comes after former Arizona Cardinals star Mauia claimed to have met Te'o's girlfriend and said: 'She is real.'

He said he met before Te'o in 2011, and described her as being 'athletic, tall and beautiful.'

In an interview with ESPN he said that he had met Kekua when he did charity work in American Samoa.

Fact or fiction: Vaosa's involvement comes after former Arizona Cardinals star Reagan Mauia claimed to have met Te'o's girlfriend and said: 'She is real'

Fact or fiction: Vaosa's involvement comes after former Arizona Cardinals star Reagan Mauia claimed to have met Te'o's girlfriend and said: 'She is real'

He claimed that Polamalu had been with him along with other Polynesian players and said: 'This was before her and Manti. I don't think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends,' he said.

'We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family.

'When she was going through the loss of her father, I was - I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa.'

Mauia said Tuiasosopo - who he believes is Kekua's cousin - introduced them and after that he met her a party.

'She was tall,' he said. 'Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model.'

Today Mauia also jumped to Polamalu’s defense and Tweeted: 'Troy Polamalu did not meet Lennay or knew of her @ all. He's being unfairly dragged into this & has absolutely no involvement.'

The sheer scale and detail that went into the hoax was exposed yesterday by Deadspin after an investigation revealed that Te'o was the victim of online predators who invented not only the death of Kekua, but her actual existence.

It is an intricate and confusing story involving multiple people connected to the college football and now NFL world, though it is still not known who the 'online predators' are who seem intent on keeping the joke going.

In a further twist, Mauia was mentioned last night in a tweet from 'beyond the grave', which was sent from an account purported to be Lennay Kekua.

It said: 'It isn't fair to drag Reagan and Troy into this...a lot of truths and myths need to be addressed here, and they will be at noon PST tomorrow.'

Who is Lennay Kekua? Manti Te'o's 'dead girlfriend' was yesterday exposed as an elaborate hoax and today it emerged that the Notre Dame star may not have been the first victim

Who is Lennay Kekua? Manti Te'o's 'dead girlfriend' was yesterday exposed as an elaborate hoax and today it emerged that the Notre Dame star may not have been the first victim

Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Mauia said he met Lennay Kekua - Manti Te'o's fictitious dead girlfriend - when he was in Samoa with Troy Polamalu in 2011

The hoax is still ongoing even after it was exposed with a tweet from Lenay Kay saying today: 'A lot of truths and myths to be discussed here, and they will be at noon tomorrow'

The hoax is still ongoing even after it was exposed with a tweet from Lenay Kay saying today: 'A lot of truths and myths to be discussed here, and they will be at noon tomorrow'

Whilst the Twitter account appeared genuine, SB Nation discovered the Kekua's Twitter account was only created yesterday - meaning the original account had been deactivated and then picked back up again - after Deadspin broke the story.

The people behind it retweeted Te'o's posts to make it look like the account had been up since September 12 - the day Kekua is said to have died - because a retweet only shows the original date of the original post.

Kekua only follows four people on her Twitter feed - Te'o, Polamalu, Mauia and Rey Maualuga - another Samoan football player who lives in California.

Today someone posted from the account: 'This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but I have been told by Alabama's offense that Manti Te'o is not real.'

This again adds fuel to the fire that the new Twitter account is just another strand of the intricate and complicated web of deceit.

Involvement: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, is reportedly the person who asked a former high school classmate to provide a photo that was later used as Lennay Kekua Involvement: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, is reportedly the person who asked a former high school classmate to provide a photo that was later used as Lennay Kekua

Another player in the elaborate hoax is another woman who is accused of posing as Lennay's sister U'ilani Rae Kekua.

There has been speculation that the faux-sister and her corresponding Twitter account was another invention of Tuiasosopo.

U'ilani frequently tweeted with Te'o and a number of Notre Dame fans and people connected to the scandal. When she made arrangements to meet anyone, Tuiasosopo would often show up in her place.

U'ilani would send pictures of herself sitting at her sister's grave to Te'o. Deadspin discovered that the woman in the pictures is Donna Tei - who doesn't seem to have a relationship with anyone involved in the hoax.

Deadpsin connected her to the scandal after she contacted one of the men behind the Catfish documentary about the use of her picture.

More questions: Troy Polamalu, left, and Reagan Muaia, right, are thought to have met Kekua in 2011 in American Samoa but only Muaia has spoken to media to confirm this

Tuiasosopo has not responded to any requests for comment from MailOnline.

A friend of his told Deadspin he was '80 per cent sure' that Manti Te'o was 'in on it', and that the two invented Lennay Kekua's death with publicity in mind.

According to the friend, there were numerous photos of Tuiasosopo and Te'o together on Tuiasosopo's now-deleted Instagram account.

The nation was captivated by the story of Mormon star linebacker Te'o, who has been regarded as a future star of the NFL as he played an award-winning season despite personal tragedy.

In numerous published reports, Te'o said that while this past season brought many triumphs to his life, there were also twin tragedies - the deaths of his 72-year-old grandmother and his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, within a day of each other.

A comprehensive investigation by Deadspin.com found that while his grandmother did indeed die on September 12, 2012, Kekua did not - nor did she even exist - thus beginning a confusing tale of lies and deceit.

Memories: A picture of Kekua was shown on CBS during an interview with Te'o, when he talked about her 'death'

Memories: A picture of Kekua was shown on CBS during an interview with Te'o, when he talked about her 'death'

When Deadpsin contacted the pretty brunette used in numerous pictures sent to Te'o and posted on Twitter purporting to be Kekua, she said she had never met the football star but did send one of the pictures used to an old school friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Tuiasosopo is known to be a good friend of Te'o and the pair are said to have went to a USC game in Los Angeles at the end of November and often retweeted each other.

Tuiasosopo is also said to have been in a serious car accident one month before Kekua's alleged accident.

Family and friends of Tuiasosopo believe he is the one behind the Kekua hoax and even suggested Te'o was not the first to have an online relationship with her.

Fake: The Twitter account of Lennay Kekua has been exposed as completely false and the woman pictured is from California and doesn't know Te'o

Fake: The Twitter account of Lennay Kekua has been exposed as completely false and the woman pictured is from California and doesn't know Te'o

They told Deadspin that Kekua was created in 2008 and had an online relationship with another guy for about one month, which ended after family members grew suspicious that she could never be found on the phone.

It was also pointed out that wherever Kekua was expected to be, Tuiasosopo was there instead.
Two other sources said it was a simple prank which blew out of control after Te'o became a footballing star almost overnight in the past season.

Tuiasosopo comes from a huge football family.

His father Titus, now pastor at the Oasis Christian Church of the Antelope Valley, is a former USC football player himself.

An uncle, Navy Tuiasosopo, played three games with the Los Angeles Rams in 1987. Another uncle and cousins also played the game.

  VIDEO  No comment as people leave Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's home

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