Cheaters in Heat: The Year Everyone Cut Corners and Severed Ties

Cheaters in Heat: The Year Everyone Cut Corners and Severed Ties

This year's scandals were less intricate, more desperate, and just as entertaining as ever.

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Photo: Ronald C. Modra, Frazer Harrison, Charles McQuillan (Getty Images)

If the last decade was dominated by scammers, 2022 ushered in the era of the cheat. Less elegant, less contrived, and alarmingly more desperate, the year’s cheaters scurried to eat the crumbs of any pie they could get their hands on. Some cheated in sports, others in the game of love. All were incredibly amusing, none were particularly well thought out.

The 2010s had Anna Delvey, Fyre Festival, the college admissions scandal, and Theranos—all elaborate schemes that earned the schemers their own retellings on various streaming platforms. And while I was certainly amused by this year’s fraudulent affairs, they weren’t really intricate enough to carry a seasonal arc. But just because they won’t be on television in the near future doesn’t mean they weren’t entertaining to watch unfold in real time

I don’t know if it was the wear and tear of the pandemic that took the spark out of all the world’s aspiring scammers. Maybe too many high-profile ones were caught and ridiculed, swaying potential young charlatans from entering the arena. Maybe people just realized that you didn’t need to get Ja Rule involved to make money off of people and that slipping weights into the bellies of fish would do the trick. Whatever caused this seismic shift and intellectual downgrade in the con artists industry, has been duly noted. Of course, I don’t expect that to stop people from trying to swindle us in 2023. But before that begins, here are the dumbest and most delectable cheats of 2022.

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Fat Bear Week

Fat Bear Week

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Photo: Ronald C. Modra (Getty Images)

In October, a body-positive, bracket-style competition meant to determine Katmai National Park’s beefiest brown bear experienced one of the year’s most infamous cheating scandals. The ballot box was spammed with fraudulent votes in favor of husky hunkette, Holly. However, it was Unnamed Male Bear 747, likened to the size of a 747 aircraft, that was the true winner of that round. In fact, Unnamed Male Bear 747 went on to win the entire competition. It wasn’t revealed who spammed the box or what it is they know about Holly that we don’t, but you better believe my trust in the system is weakened.

Memorable tidbit: There are over 2,200 bears in Katmai National Forest, yet only four have held the Title of Fattest Bear. Fat Bear Week is an illusion of democracy.

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Adam Levine

Adam Levine

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Photo: NBCUniversal (Getty Images)

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine was called out by his alleged mistress, Instagram model Sumner Stroh, after asking her if she’d be okay with him naming his unborn child (with wife Behati Prinsloo) after Stroh. Levine denied the cheating allegations but did admit to using “poor judgment in speaking with anyone other than my wife in ANY kind of flirtatious manner.” The fear has been struck within him.

Memorable tidbit: “I may need to see the booty” followed by “fffuucccccccckkkkkkkkkk” really might be as pure and cringy as a sext gets.

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Weigh-ward Fishermen

Weigh-ward Fishermen

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Photo: Mark Gillispie (AP)

In an attempt to win $30,000 in prize money for an Ohio fishing competition, Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky stuffed lead weights and fish filets into their catches. They plead not guilty but were still charged with various fifth-degree felonies, including cheating and attempted grand theft, as well as a few misdemeanors, including unlawfully owning wild animals. They were released on personal bonds.

Memorable tidbit: They could have their fishing licenses permanently revoked!!

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Poker

Poker

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Screenshot: HCL Poker Show

Admittedly my brain turns into Pink Saucewhen someone tries to explain the rules of poker to me, so I can’t really convey why poker fans felt that Robbi Jade Lew was cheating in her match against Garrett Adelstein. But those accusations resulted in her offering up her $120,000 ruby ring to prove it wasn’t sending her signals on which cards to play through vibration. It wasn’t but something more sinister was afoot...

Memorable tidbit: When reviewing the tapes of the match, Hustler Casino Live didn’t find evidence of Lew cheating but did catch an HCL employee stealing three $5,000 chips from her table.

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The Try Guys

The Try Guys

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Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

There is a cheating scandal and then there is a cheating saga that was the Try Guys cheating scandal. The majority of Americans did not know who these Youtube jack-of-all-trades men were before we learned that Ned “Wife Guy” Fulmer cheated on his wife with a coworker. But we all found ourselves enamored with the unfolding scandal and permanent dismissal of Fulmer. He admitted to “losing focus and having a consensual workplace relationship.”

Memorable tidbit: The three monogamous Try Guys spoke of Fulmer’s affair, with the gravity of a president addressing a nation in mourning, in a video that shares a name with Hillary Clinton’s post-election account: “What Happened.”

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Ime Udoka

Ime Udoka

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Photo: Maddie Meyer (Getty Images)

Boston Celtic’s head coach Ime Udoka was caught having an affair with a female member of the team’s organization. The Celtic’s management would not confirm if it was a consensual affair or sexual harassment, but either way, they suspended him for the remainder of the season. Udoka’s longtime fiancé, Nia Long, broke off the engagement and condemned the basketball franchise for their poor handling of the situation.

Memorable tidbit:

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#BagGate

#BagGate

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Photo: The Washington Post (Getty Images)

Professional cornhole (yes, I know) was rocked by its own cheating scandal this fall when it was discovered that some people were using non-regulation bags. Could this have absolutely been solved by the league supplying its athletes with bags for the competition? 100 percent. But the league is still relatively new so we’re giving them a pass till they get it together.

Memorable tidbit: Jay Corley, one of the league’s stars, only recently decided to stop drinking while playing after studying the legacies of athletes like Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter. I can only imagine the advantage this gives him over his competitors.

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Chess

Chess

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Photo: KOEN VAN WEEL (Getty Images)

American chess grandmaster Hans Neimann, only 19 years old, admitted earlier this year to cheating twice throughout his young career. While that was scandalous in and of itself, it only sparked more rumors of his deceitful approach to the gentleman’s game. A Reddit post suggested Neimann was cheating via a vibrating sex toy inserted into his anus. This was never proven, but certainly lit the chess world abuzz!

Memorable tidbit: It was later discovered that Neimann had cheated in his early career more than the two times he had admitted to.

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Irish Dancing

Irish Dancing

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Photo: Charles McQuillan (Getty Images)

The feiseanna was fixed! The Irish Dancing Commission, known as An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG) had to investigate text messages between judges and coaches setting up certain dancers and teams to win at the dancing competitions. Members of the Irish Dancing community likened the inner workings scandal to the deeds of the mafia. As far as I know, no one was “disappeared” so I’m going to call that a bit of a stretch.

Memorable tidbit: It wasn’t entirely clear but it seemed as if *maybe* the judges and coaches were exchanging sexual favors with one another.

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GMA Affair

GMA Affair

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Photo: Bryan Bedder (Getty Images)

Ah yes, the liaison that caused the world to say, “GMA has a third hour?” Indeed it does. GMA3 hosts Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes’s affair brought incredible ratings to the ABC morning show before they were booted from the air. Do not fret! The duo and whatever private investigator is following them up and down the East coast have shown us they’re still going strong despite no longer having jobs.

Memorable tidbit: It, unfortunately, does seem like Holmes has had a number of workplace liaisons and Robach is not his first break room paramour. Also, the two found love in a hopeless place: while training for a marathon.

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