Tania Head’s story, as shared over the years with reporters, students, friends and hundreds of visitors to ground zero, was a remarkable account of both life and death. She had, she said, survived the terror attack on the World Trade Center despite having been badly burned when the plane crashed into the upper floors of the south tower.
Crawling through the chaos and carnage on the 78th floor that morning, she said, she encountered a dying man who handed her his inscribed wedding ring, which she later returned to his widow.
Her own life was saved, she said, by a selfless volunteer who stanched the flames on her burning clothes before she was helped down the stairs. It was a journey she said she had the strength to make because she kept thinking of a beautiful white dress she was to wear at her coming marriage ceremony to a man named Dave. But later she would discover, she said, that Dave, her fiancé, and in some versions her husband, had perished in the north tower.
The problem is, no part of her story can be verified and much of the information that this woman has provided about herself has proven to be false. Interestingly, she has not profited monetarily from these claims. Yet, she has coveted the power that comes from her newfound recognition since the tragedy.
The problem with the situation with Scott Shields is, that his actions have cost the federal government a great deal of money, and he continues to mislead folks and solicit funds for his own foundation. And, yet, his story never makes it to the New York Times despite being carried in many other lesser known, more regional newspapers.
To get folks up to speed, here is some info from a previous entry:
This photo shows an almost 12-year-old “Bear” during his 1 1/2 days on the pile at the World Trade Center’s Ground Zero. Old Scott and his old dog Bear were asked to leave then by Lt. Dan Donadio, head of the NYPD’s canine unit, due to their not being qualified.
It should be noted that dogs of this age would never be allowed into an urban disaster site, given the inherent danger of the situation. Urban Search & Rescue dogs must have specialized agility training and continually train to remain in working shape. They are typically retired as they approach 8 to 9 years of age.
The entire ugly tale can be found here:
TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness.
But, the saga continues as evidenced in this July 15th New York Post article from Brad Hamilton and Ginger Otis, 9/11 ‘HERO’ CHARGED IN 40G SCAM
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 he two were on hand only for “a couple of days,” according to a former NYPD officer.
That part is not quite right. Bear was not cancer-stricken when he initially went onto the pile for two days in September 2001, and thereby “too sick to do any real work”. He was untrained and almost 12 years of age. No untrained dog would have been allowed into a situation that required advanced agility skills. And, certainly no working dog in urban search and rescue is on active status at such a senior age.
“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.
This copy of the felony indictment clearly displays the depth of the case that the US has against this brother and sister team. Although my legal knowledge is extremely limited, the 3 detailed counts of the indictment seem quite extensive and well documented. I can see by looking up the actual violations (through Title 18, Sections 641, 1341, 2) why the punishments are so steep.
Further court documents from Pacer indicate that Scott was arrested on March 20, 2007 and was freed on $50,000 bail with travel restricted to NY, NJ, PA, CT, NH & VA. Sadly, he is still traveling the circuit of dog, boat & security show events–providing presentations to both children and adults and peddling his version of the truth.
The last addition to Scott’s case file shows a Memo Endorsement that was reviewed by the court on June 18th, and so entered and approved on July 2, 2007. It seems that bail conditions were modified to include a mental health assessment and mental health counseling.
The trial is set for November 5, 2007, Federal Judge Robert W. Sweet hearing the case of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. SCOTT SHIELDS, and PATRICIA SHIELDS, Defendants.
I fear no one is paying much attention to the fact that this man is under federal indictment. It must be the reason he continues to do gigs professing great knowledge in Search and Rescue, when he has no official training in the area.
Just look at this blurb about his upcoming presentation that he will be doing at the Pittsburgh Pet Expo on October 13-14:
The Search and Rescue Foundation
This is a Search and Rescue Organization based out of Connecticut. It was originally comprised of Capt. Scott Shields, who is the emergency management director for a New York-based private security company, and his rescue dog Bear. Captain Shields and Bear had been among the first emergency responders to reach ground zero. Shields and Bear, who is a golden retriever, worked 18-hour days, and Bear is credited with finding the most victims of all rescuers. More recently, they have been involved in the rescue efforts in New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina. At the Pittsburgh Pet Expo Captain Shields and Theodore, who is Bear’s offspring, will be present and doing various safety demos and a Search and Rescue overview of the World Trade Center.
If you go to my page on Scott about truthiness, you will be able to see the multitude of lies in this one small paragraph. What is interesting is how he has gotten the person to not write out the name of his foundation as the Bear Search and Rescue Foundation so that it would not be picked up by folks, like myself, who look out for where he may be lying his way into another performance. You see, when we find out about these events, we call and let the folks there know the real story. And, then we ask them if they want a man speaking about the WTC who is under federal indictment for alleged acts of fraud with respect to 9/11. You can well imagine what their response is.
Please help us be sure that this man is not allowed to solicit monies at this event or provide demos in an area that clearly diminishes the true heroes and hard work that our honest search and rescue folks are known for.
Please let them know that this man is clearly not who he professes to be.
I just read the following post at the Scott Shields Fraud Forum. We need more persons like this to speak their mind about what is going on:
Feel free to copy and send to Pittsburgh newspaper reporters or anyone else:
Dear ________ ,
ARE YOU AWARE THAT YOUR PRESENTER “CAPTAIN” SCOTT SHIELDS IS INDICTED FOR FEDERAL FRAUD?
Are you aware that Mr. Scott Shields and his sister Patty Shields are under Federal Indictment for FEMA Fraud (taking appox. $40,000 in 9/11 funds)? They have posted bond and are scheduled for trial in early November 2007? SEE:
US District Court – Southern District of NY
Case 1:07-cr-00320-RWS Document 15 Filed 04/17/2007
Are you aware how the scam works? Shields, a self-proclaimed hero and self-promoter, misrepresents himself to the public and to organizations in order to obtain awards and honors for himself and his dogs. He then uses these accolades to promote himself and seduce the public into giving money to his foundation.
Are you aware that Mr. Shields is not a “Captain”?
Are you aware that Mr. Shields was a volunteer at Ground Zero for less than three days and that he was not affiliated with any rescue organization?
Are you aware that Bear was NOT a trained search and rescue dog, he did NOT find the most victims and he did NOT find any live victims?
Are you aware that the publisher of Mr. Shields’ book Bear Heart of a Hero has removed it from stores, and it is no longer available for sale—except through used book sellers?
Are you aware that Mr. Shields’ co-author, Nancy West, has published a letter to readers on Amazon.com detailing misrepresentations about the book?
Are you aware that Dr. Jane Goodall removed her endorsement from this book?
Are you aware that Mr. Shields’ dog Theodore is not Bear’s offspring?
To investigate more about Mr. Shields and his sister and the a private foundation they operate (Bear Search and Rescue Foundation) contact: New York State Attorney General’s Office (Andrew Cuomo) 212-416-8000
To speak with Mr. Shields Pre-trial Officer call: 212-805-4100
UPDATE: Well, something worked. The Pittsburgh Pet Expo is not allowing this man to be involved with their event!! One for the good guys.