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Man Awarded Free $20K Wedding from Nonprofit Group Admits He's a Convicted Felon

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A man who was awarded an all-expenses-paid wedding by a nonprofit organization has admitted he is a convicted felon--something not fully disclosed in his application for the nuptials from Wish Upon a Wedding.

44-year-old Manuel Sosa of Temple City wed his fiancée, Adriana Tafoya, Monday night in Pasadena in a wedding valued at $20,000, reports the Whittier Daily News. The shindig was paid for by the Orange County/Los Angeles chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding.

The organization provides weddings to the terminally ill; Sosa is suffering from end-stage liver disease. His condition was verified by the organization. What Wish Upon a Wedding didn't know--until now--is that Sosa "was convicted of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, defrauding a financial institution and communications fraud last year in St. Johns County, Fla.," indicate court documents. Sosa was sentenced to five years probation. Financial finagling happens to be part of Sosa's past: "Florida law enforcement officials and the U.S. Secret Service had been investigating a mortgage fraud case with a loss of over $35 million in which Sosa was 'main subject.'"

Additionally, Sosa has a criminal history here in Los Angeles County. Sosa "was convicted of one misdemeanor count of domestic/spousal battery in 1999 in a West Covina courtroom, and four other undetermined misdemeanors in 2009 in Pomona, according to Los Angeles Superior Court documents."

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In response, Wish Upon a Wedding says they "don't discriminate," and the groom's medical condition made him eligible for the generous gift of a wedding. The organization admits they did not run a background check on the applicants.

Wish Upon a Wedding board member Tobey Dodge said Tuesday of Sosa and the revelation of his past: "I'm flabbergasted [...] I don't get this. I'm stunned."

But the bride says she tried to indicate her husband-to-be has a criminal history on the form:

Before being considered as wedding recipients, Sosa and Tafoya signed a document stating they had never been convicted of a crime. Tafoya said she wrote “Yes,” believing that would indicate Sosa had been convicted of a felony. “My intentions were never to hide anything from Wish upon a Wedding ... that is the truth,” she said.

During the reception, Sosa thanked Wish Upon a Wedding, saying the group had "made us a perfect day in our life."