Here's our findings, and the proof we have that Gina F is real, and involved with this scheme. This post is solely about Gina. We have stated we haven't found a link to Paul knowing this person in person, and are still asking for viable proof he did know her. Until that time, we work with what we've got and can tangibly prove. We would also like to add that the original goal was to prove that Pepe did not exist, so yes, more time has been vested in Gina than Paul.
We were very careful to triple check everything we had, and even gave the evidence to other people for review before posting the first blog about "Friends of Pepe" to make sure that we had our ducks in a row:
Gina Fiorentino, identified in many pictures across horse riding sites, as well as competitions/shows and photos by professional photographers, owns two horses, registered to her, by the names of Gracie and Chipotle, and her email address for shows is listed as email@example.com. This same person is identified across the horse riding forums as chipngrace. Her email address with those accounts is firstname.lastname@example.org. This same email address is connected to her YouTube account, which displays videos of her riding as late as July 31.
This same email address and username are registered to Gina's fotki account, and her MySpace account, where she is friends with a woman whose images were used as "Pepe" on the "Friends of Pepe" site. We have found no connection to this person to Paul or anything else and believe this person is not involved. As of yesterday afternoon, she was still fiercely protecting her friend, and cursing us.
Within an hour of the "Friends of Pepe" site coming down, all sites registered to Gina's email address came down. Now, unless Paul has broken into her AOL account or is really the woman on the horses below, Gina exists and was quickly covering her tracks.
Gifts and money were sent to "Gina Johnson" at her parents' residence (whose last name is not Johnson, but Fiorentino) in Minnesota by CFers in the last few months. Her parents' residence and last name has been verified again today as the same address "Gina Johnson/Pepe" gave as her address to these people.
This same user, chipngrace, has made comments about her CF boyfriend (below), and referenced Paul on her MySpace account. One commenter noted that Gina made Pepe up because she had fallen in love with Paul, and she didn't believe he would love her back. It would be interesting to know if Paul knew she was parading around as her girlfriend.
We have more, but hopefully that clears up any doubts.
We have seen comments and received emails about CFers actually debating whether or not to go through with a transplant after reading Pepe's story, and it infuriates us to think that that could have been a consequence of that damn blog. Thank God no one has come forward to say they turned down a transplant because of Pepe.
A few commenters have mentioned that they know someone Gina F. confessed to in person, and we're glad to hear it. It's a step in the right direction for her. If you know of her getting help, we would like to hear about that as well.
Other commenters cannot believe the malice of the DWT blog itself and its commenters. We have some thoughts. First, we are playing the "Friends of Pepe" hoaxers at their own game. We have taken them on in their home court. They chose to expose themselves, and so we exposed the troll.
Second, we did draw a line. Gina is an adult, and we treated her as one, who was caught in this horrendous lie. We contacted the sites where her username was being used with a general comment to the effects of her being a troll, and a link to this site. We contacted the young woman we visually know as Pepe, because she had a right to know Gina was using her pictures, and we contacted a few bloggers who had asked what happened to the "Friends of Pepe" site. We did not contact her family or her workplace, or reveal her contact information. If they have been informed or that information has been used, it came from another source. But again, playing at her own game. Pepe's story spread, just as Gina's has.
We are glad the malice is here. Be angry, let it out. We are a blog that was started in anger, literally having to "walk it off" because hands were shaking, and used this blog to expose a very well-composed lie.
We would rather people take their anger out here than on the CF community, or on other CF bloggers. We have received a few emails from other people who have had trolls on their sites, stealing content, even pictures of their babies, and some are truly bitter. Their troll was never exposed. And just like Gina, who was quietly exposed years ago on another board as "Blake" for the same game, their trolls have moved on to someone else.
Knowing that those people are out there lessens our Internet communities and faith in people, and makes us sick. It's time we take these punks on at their own game.