Her story was believed by many private people in Sweden and Finland; followed by her faithfull companion, who was an educated and cultivated woman who supported her story, de la Brache performed with a simplicity and naivite which made people unable to think she was cunning enough to have made it all up, and sensible enough for people to think that she believed it because she was mad. Eventually, even the skeptics had to admit that the story was at least theoretically possible. She received great financial support, not only from private benefactors, but also from an annual pension from the foreign department of 2,400 Swedish riksdaler a year, with the assistance of C. Norrby, who believed in her story. She managed to continue this for years.
In 1870, however, an article in a newspaper by C. Norrby, one of her benefactors, appeared, resulting in an investigation.
In 1876-77, it was proved that she was born in Stockholm as Aurora Florentina Magnusson to the custom care taker Anders Magnusson (d. 1826). In 1835, she was a maid to a book-keeper named Hedman, where the family said that she always had the mind to "rise above her status". In 1838, she was employed by a wealthy family, whos daughter became deeply devoted to her, dressed her in elegant clothes and left her family for her; it was she who later became her companion and accomplice in the fraud.
When the two women moved to Finland in 1844, Aurora Florentina had the name de la Brache on her passport, and when she came back to Sweden in 1845, she changed her name to Anna Florentina de la Brache. She managed to have her name changed from her birth certificate to Helga. The two women can be traced to have moved around from one city to another in both Sweden and Finland - Helga was often supported by her friend, who worked as a teacher; in 1846 they were in Turku, in 1848 in Örebro, in 1857-59 in Sala, where they tried to start a fashion shop, before they arrived in Stockholm in the 1860s to commence their fraud.
Several books have been written about her.