Sunday, July 15, 2007

9/11 'HERO' CHARGED IN 40G SCAM

July 15, 2007 -- A self-proclaimed Ground Zero hero who says he and his golden retriever rescued victims from the World Trade Center rubble has been charged with fraud for allegedly ripping off $40,000 in federal relief funds.

Scott Shields could face up to 35 years in jail after a Manhattan grand jury indicted him and his sister last month for allegedly swiping rental-assistance money from FEMA and other agencies.

Shields showed up in the days after the attack, accompanied by Bear, his cancer-stricken canine, but the dog was too sick to do any real work, and the two were on hand only for "a couple of days," according to a former NYPD officer.

"There's something wrong with the guy," said Lt. Dan Denadio, who as head of the NYPD's K-9 unit spent nine months at Ground Zero. "I don't know how he got so far."

Shields claims he and Bear "made the only live finds" at the site.

"Nonsense," Denadio said.

After his brief stint on the pile, Shields, who had resided in Greenwich, Conn., moved into an apartment across from the site - a swanky $3,182-a-month pad on Rector Place - and got one check for $16,443.50 from FEMA to pay for it, records show.

Shields collected thousands in additional rental assistance, the indictment says.

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