The pandemic has been a bad time for weird crime, since it’s extremely hard to trade a stolen Russian submarine full of counterfeit Funko Pops for a shipment of illegal lizard tranquilizers while also adhering to social distancing regulations. But that just means the world’s craziest weirdos have had to get even more creative in their bizarre assaults on both the law and common sense. 

A Cheerleader’s Mom Produced Deepfake Videos Of Her Daughter’s Rivals To Get Them Kicked Off The Team

A major concern right now is the rise of deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence to produce incredibly convincing fake videos of people. For example, there was a famous controversy over deepfake videos appearing to show Joe Biden falling asleep during an important meeting, even though everyone knew he was actually under arrest in Qanon’s underground pizza crimes prison. Deepfakes have the potential to destabilize all kinds of high-stakes situations, from politics to big business. Which is why it should be no surprise to learn that they’re currently shaking the world of high school cheerleading, the single most competitive environment in modern America. 

View Apart/Shutterstock

All these people have thousand-yard stares unmatched since the First World War. 

Combining the athleticism of gymnastics with the safety record of Russian roulette, competitive cheerleading is considered one of the toughest sports in the world. That’s partly down to the cheerleaders’ moms, who have a reputation for doing whatever it takes to get their kid onto center stage. Over the years, cheerleader moms have been accused of everything from phoning in bomb threats, to food poisoning, to actually hiring hitmen to murder rival cheerleaders. But they all were all positively primitive compared to Pennsylvania mother Raffaela Spone, whose particular style of attack helicopter parenting involved producing humiliating deepfake videos of her daughter’s teammates. 

Back in March, Spone was arrested and charged with creating deepfakes showing her daughter’s rivals smoking, drinking and posing nude, then sending them to their coach in an attempt to get them kicked off the team. Spone is also accused of sending some of the fakes directly to the kids, along with anonymous text messages encouraging them to kill themselves. Fortunately, Spone’s plan had one fatal flaw: she was an idiot. Her targets immediately contacted the police, who quickly determined that the videos were fake. They then traced the messages directly back to Spone’s phone. Doubtless she let out a Spone phone groan when she realized her mistake. 

It remains unclear why Spone thought that she’d be able to break the spirits of top cheerleaders, every one of whom has nailed a double back handspring with two broken legs and the skull injuries of a woodpecker in a windfarm. Although we will apologize if it turns out the cops were just fooled by an incredibly convincing deepfake of Spone creating the deepfakes. 

A Florida High-Schooler And Her Mother Rigged The Homecoming Queen Election

In late 2020, an election software company discovered shocking evidence of fraud in the vote to decide the most important and respected office in America: high-school homecoming queen. The incident took place in Pensacola, the Florida of Florida, where a local high school allowed students to vote for homecoming queen using software called Election Runner. The new queen was duly elected and launched the traditional reign of terror, but engineers at Election Runner soon started puzzling over the mysterious vote totals, including a sudden wave of 117 votes from the same IP address. 

Rob Marmion/Shutterstock 

For confused non-Americans, the homecoming queen rules the school for a year, then gets banished to the Dream Woods as an offering to They Who Walk Below. 

It turned out that the homecoming queen was the daughter of Laura Rose Carroll, who was vice-principal at a different school in the district. The unnamed queen apparently used her mother’s login credentials to access confidential school records, including the student ID numbers of at least 212 other teens. She then used the information to repeatedly vote for herself on the Election Runner site. Again, this was in order to become homecoming queen, a basically meaningless position that was probably invented as a scam by the sequin industry. Richard Nixon didn’t rig elections this intensely. 

Incredibly, none of this was news to the other students, who had assumed the election was rigged from the beginning. Apparently, Carroll’s daughter had spent years bragging about her ability to access student files, including grades and disciplinary records. Even weirder is that her mother was fully aware of all of this. Not only did Carroll get a notification every time someone used her login details, she also gave her daughter the new password when it was updated every 45 days. And look, we all end up weird places in life, but if you find yourself playing shadowy puppetmaster to your daughter’s high school crime spree, it may be time to reevaluate some things. 

Palacio do Planalto/Wikimedia Commons

All that's missing from this story is a cameo from Rudy Giuliani as their defense attorney. 

After the election rigging broke, Carroll was arrested and her daughter was immediately expelled, because if there’s one thing America takes seriously, it’s high school drama. The homecoming queen title was awarded to the runner-up, which we’re assuming was a scandal-plagued mascot called, like, Methy the Alligator. Sorry if that’s unfair Florida, but let’s be honest, you guys really aren’t making it easy here. 

Wisconsin’s “Sturgeon-General” Is Under Arrest For Sturgeon Crimes

America’s caviar crime spree has been spiraling out of hand for years. In 2009, for example, the Missouri Department of Conservation set up an entire fake dock bristling with hidden cameras as part of a multi-million dollar operation to catch poachers illegally catching vulnerable fish species for caviar. But over in Wisconsin, things were a little different, as employees at the Department of Natural Resources were apparently living like deranged Tsars, guzzling buckets of caviar at staff meetings and running secret processing operations on the side. 

Charles Haynes/Wikimedia Commons

So this sells, but our toad spawn restaurant gets burned down by an angry mob?

Caviar is perhaps the most famous delicacy in the world. Made from the eggs of sturgeon, it’s renowned for its refined flavor, which is perfect for anyone who wants to know what Rasputin’s armpit tasted like. While the best caviar comes from Russia, quite a bit is produced in America, where there are laws protecting against caviar-based overfishing. In Wisconsin, spear-fishermen can catch a limited number of sturgeon a year, but are banned from selling the eggs for profit. As a result, many fishermen prefer to just take the fish and leave behind the caviar, which to reiterate, tastes like tripping tongue-first into Poseidon’s taint. 

Fortunately, the Department of Conservation offered to take any unwanted fish eggs for “research purposes.” Unfortunately, the main research they were doing was into how much caviar you could eat out of a lap dancer’s shoe. Investigators allege that scientists feasted on tens of thousands of dollars of caviar during department conferences, while retired employees ran underground caviar factories, taking a third of the product as pay for processing the fish eggs into fine caviar. The state’s top fish expert, dubbed the “Sturgeon-General” by local media, is currently facing charges for raking in over $20,000 worth of caviar in a single year. 

Earthwave Society/Wikimedia Commons

If you have this much caviar, you’re going to end up eating it with a Flamin’ Hot Dorito, right? 

If we’re being honest, nobody should really face a prison sentence here. The fishermen didn’t want the eggs, and the government didn't need most of them for research, so they just ate them instead of throwing them away. Still, it’s hard not to enjoy the image of a guy in a lab coat, beard stained with caviar juice, licking his lips as he accepts another bucket of fish eggs for “research.” 

Acrobatic Thieves Used Social Media To Perfectly Track Their Victims

Social media is kind of like cocaine, in that every wannabe celebrity is on it and it will eventually ruin their lives. In most cases, that will take the form of a career-ending Snapchat post promoting some kind of mercury-based sports drink. But influencers in Italy found themselves with a more immediate problem, when a gang of dashing thieves started carefully tracking Instagram shots to pinpoint expensive luxury goods. Once a target had been selected, the crew would use social media to track when they left the house, then use daring acrobatic moves to scale the building and make off with a fortune in watches and shoes. 

View Apart/Shutterstock

Incredible gymnastics skills and a social media fixation? Clearly another case of cheerleading crime.

Take Eleanora Incardona, an influencer with 500,000 Instagram followers who regularly promotes designer goods. Back in December 2020, Incardona live-streamed herself leaving her Milan apartment to browse at Tiffany’s. As soon as she left a group of elegantly dressed men clambered up a sheer wall and helped themselves to thousands of dollars in handbags and jewels. In another case, the thieves tracked TV presenter Diletta Leotta on social media, then climbed her entire nine-floor apartment building and broke in through a trapdoor on the roof. In another case, one of the thieves climbed up a pole and jumped through a first-floor window. 

Other victims of the gang included footballers and TV stars. But in a twist of fate, the hunters became the hunted when Italian police used one of Incardona’s videos to identify one of the thieves lurking in the background as she left her building. The whole crew was eventually arrested. And we’d like to take a moment to pay our respects to Incardona, an influencer so dedicated to documenting her life that she appears to have made herself immune to crime. 

Two Guys Tried To Impersonate US Marshals To Avoid Wearing Masks

Nobody likes finding out what their own breath smells like, but in the grand scheme of things wearing a mask really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s not like every time you go to the store there’s soldiers fighting to hold guard dogs back while men in hazmat suits scrub at you with brooms. It’s just a small piece of cloth that helps keep you and others safe from coronavirus. Unfortunately, a significant minority of the population still reacted to that simple request with pure outrage, leading to a booming underground market in fake certificates declaring the bearer exempt from mask regulations due to an unspecified medical condition. But even those freaks look positively normal next to the guys who launched elaborate fake identities as federal agents, all to avoid wearing masks. 

Broward Co. Sheriff's Office

They got their wish in the mugshot booth.

The bizarre scheme unfolded in Florida, America’s designated bizarre scheme state, where two men tried to check into the Deerfield Beach Wyndham Resort while maskless as a 1950s brain surgeon. The men, identified as Walter Wayne Brown and Gary Brummett, sported the latest in Florida fashion: laminated cards hung around their necks reading “FACEMASK EXEMPT NOTICE.” When staff members questioned this, they produced badges reading “Cherokee Nation Marshal” and “Aniyvwiya Criminal Justice Deputy.” Brummet then threatened staff “Do you know what this means? I’m a U.S. marshal and can have you arrested if you force me to wear a mask.”

Brown and Brummett spent the next few days wandering around the hotel, threatening to arrest any employees who expressed reservations about their legal right to cough directly into the ice machine. Meanwhile, the staff had become a little suspicious as to why the Cherokee Marshals, based mainly on tribal land in Oklahoma, were conducting a week-long investigation of their buffet line. They ended up calling the actual Marshals, who confirmed that the two men were not cops in any way. To rectify the situation, they offered to send a real US Marshal to the hotel to perform a demonstration of both mask-wearing and arresting people. 

Brown and Brummett were quickly put in handcuffs, presumably after a failed attempt to pull rank and escape by producing a comical succession of FBI, Secret Service, NCIS and S.H.I.E.L.D. badges. If there’s a lesson in this, it’s to keep your fake identities simple -- no lie has ever been improved by randomly tossing the Cherokee Nation in there. If there’s a more important lesson, it’s just to wear a mask. Seriously guys, it’s not that hard. 

Wikimedia Commons

They managed to figure this out in 1918, when most people still blamed diseases on goblins.

Top image: Alex Kravtsov/Shutterstock

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