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Alema Te’o, Uncle of Manti Te’o, Had a "Bad Feeling" About Hoax Mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Hints at Potential Money Scam Tied to Leukemia Victims

It appears we could be getting close to a motive in the Manti Te’o hoax, at least according to the Te’o family: Money.

In a lengthy interview with 1280 The Zone (listen here), Alema Te’o, the uncle of the Notre Dame linebacker, talks about meeting the mastermind behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, after the USC/Notre Dame game in November 2012. Almost from the beginning, Alema catches Tuiasosopo in a big lie, but doesn’t expose him. (“I wish I would have blew that guy up right then and there,” he tells the hosts.)

Tuiasosopo told Alema Te’o that he had been helping out at Troy Polamalu’s football camp on the music side. This floored Alema because he knew the camp well – he was the Camp Director.  “He said he was at the hotel, doing entertainment, doing this, doing that … it wasn’t true. I was thinking in my mind, ‘no, you didn’t.'”

Alema left the gathering and said he quickly phoned Brian Te’o, Manti’s father, to make him aware of the shady Tuiasosopo. Brian then made Manti aware of of the lies, and based on what Alema tells the hosts, cuts ties with Tuiasosopo.

If you’re making a timetable at home, the USC/Notre Dame game was Nov. 24th; on Dec. 6th, Manti got the call from his fake/dead girlfriend’s cell phone.

Alema said Tuiasosopo, when talking about helping someone with leukemia, used the phrase, “rally together to cover the cost of this guy’s education,” and then it hit him: Tuiasosopo was just “trying to get close to Manti and plant some seeds for the future.” [1280 The Zone via David; photo via Deadspin]

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