Fraud trial set for infamous 9/11 hero Scott Shields, aka Mr. Truthiness


A Pretrial Conference was held on January 28, 2008 and the following minutes for the proceedings, held before Judge Robert W. Sweet, were provided by Court Reporter Carol Ganley [so entered into the record on 1/30/2008]:

Scott Shields present with attorney Jonathan Marks. Defendant Patty Shields present with attorney Peggy Cross. AUSA Jenna Dabbs present. Trial scheduled for 4/7/08. Time stopped 1/28/08 to 4/7/08 in the interest of justice. Defendants continued on bail as previously set.

For those folks lucky enough not to have been tricked out of their money or bamboozled by Scott Shields, you may need a little refresher about this 9/11 con artist.

An almost 12-year-old Bear at the WTC’s Ground Zero

I have a story to tell. A story I have not wanted to even whisper about. It has stayed with me for over four years. While Scott Shields—the central character in this sordid tale—has, and continues to, deceive many unsuspecting souls, it shames me to even have to acknowledge that I, too, fell victim. Yet, I am hopeful that its readers will come to see that bigger, far more important matters, are at issue here. Certainly, far bigger than my wounded pride. ~ Rochelle Lesser, September 26, 2006

1. Copy of Federal Indictment of Scott Shields can be accessed here.

2. Incriminating Video

3. Eyewitness account from NYPD K9 Lt.

4. Co-Author Sets the Story Straight

5. Story Updates (to original Trading in on Tragedy For Fame: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness article)


The following article speaks to the continuing crackdown on those who have tried to defraud the government with respect to 9/11 related claims. However, I wonder if that continues as the article is an ancient 4+ years old.

More Arrests Made In 9/11 Fraud Cases
By EDWARD WYATT, New York Times, April 11, 2003

A continuing crackdown on people who have attempted to defraud federal relief programs and private charities related to the 9/11 attack has resulted in the recent arrests of 33 people, who together falsely claimed nearly $135,000 in government and charitable funds, prosecutors said yesterday.

The arrests bring to 245 the number of people charged with crimes related to World Trade Center fraud, said Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney. Those cases resulted in about $3.6 million in fraudulent claims.

”These cases are important not because such a huge amount of money is involved,” Mr. Morgenthau said, ”but because we want to make sure that people understand you can’t take advantage of a national tragedy.” …

The district attorney also announced the arrest of 11 people, including a 911 operator for the Police Department and two school crossing guards, who were charged with falsely applying for relief benefits by saying that they had lost jobs because of the terror attack.


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Golden Retriever Hank won $50,000+ for rescue, going to hollywood – Updated 2x


Three weeks ago I asked folks to help send Handsome Hank to Hollywood! A 2006 Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue (NRGRR) alum, he had been selected as a finalist in Circuit City’s ‘Find the Next Firedog’ Contest. NRGRR would receive $1 for every vote and if Hank won the grand prize, the rescue would receive an amazing $50,000+ with Hank also starring in a Circuit City commercial.


Never in my wildest dreams did I believe this guy would actually win, but you guessed it. That is just what he did. Hank’s tag of “eager to please while always wearing a smile” in the GReat photo above by David Masini has paid off big-time.

hanks.jpgThis adorable little puppy guy was rescued, nursed back to health, and adopted through Neuse River’s efforts. He should only know how much his charming face helped the organization that got him to his wonderful forever home.

I actually just received the news from Robin Lesniak, a NRGRR volunteer, and had to share it with everyone right away.

Hank won the Firedog contest – Thanks to you! Thank you to everyone who voted for and posted messages about Hank. He won the Firedog contest, which means that Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue will recieve the $50,000+ in donations which will assist so much in caring for these homeless, and sick goldens.

The official announcement was just made on this website. It’s such a wonderful thing, when so many caring, warm people come together for such a worthy cause. Our heartfelt thanks from Hank and Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue.

UPDATE #1 from NRGRR President, Jennifer Edwards

NRGRR supporters,
The verdict is in for the most anticipated election in Golden Retriever history! It was a morning filled with anxiety and hope, but when we finally clicked that refresh button on the internet browser and the firedog advertisement changed from “Check back here on Jan 28” to “Meet the winning dog” we held our breath. When we saw “Congratulations Hank!”, it was almost too amazing to believe!

This is such an unbelievable, heartwarming, fabulous experience for our organization. The support that our volunteers experienced from the community, adopters, friends, family, co-workers, fellow rescuers, businesses, acquaintances and even strangers was overwhelming. Hank was mentioned on at least three different radio programs. He was posted on many different web communities, blogs, facebook pages, and distribution lists. Golden Retriever rescue organizations across the country posted him to their volunteer lists, newsletters and websites. Our volunteers proudly wore their “Vote for Hank” buttons at the fairgrounds and encouraged people to vote. They set up laptops at the adopt-a-thon and concession sales to allow people to immediately vote. Hank was in the News and Observer and the Triangle Business Journal. Volunteers posted flyers across the Triangle and posters in their car windows and on their mailboxes – anything to get out the vote. He had votes from Canada, Singapore, Venezuela, Grand Cayman, Poland, Russia, England, Germany, France and probably many more countries!

As the next Firedog, Hank will be starring in a national Circuit City commercial. He will soon head to California to begin his career as “Hollywood Hank”. NRGRR will also receive the amazing $50,000 grand prize, along with $1 for every vote Hank received. That will be a HUGE help in rescuing and rehabilitating Golden Retrievers since our annual vet expenses can exceed $90,000.

I want to thank every single person who voted for Hank. Your vote made a difference to all of the Goldens we will rescue this year! And thanks to everyone who recruited at least one other person to vote. We couldn’t have done it without you!

We are so blessed to have your support. Please stay in touch and come see us at the Valentines Party or Summer Reunion!

UPDATE #2 Jan 30th PR Newswire release from Circuit City

Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue receives donation of more than $60,000; three-month campaign awarded more than $125,000 to recognize humane societies across the country

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Circuit City’s firedog(SM) services and Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: EK) today named Hank of Raleigh, N.C., the grand prize winner in their “Find the Next firedog” photo contest, resulting in a grand prize donation of $60,798 to Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue. The amount includes the grand prize donation ($50,000), a finalist donation ($1,000) plus a portion of a shared prize pool generated by an online voting competition.

Circuit City Stores, Inc. launched its three-month program last November to support local animal rescue organizations in addition to engaging pet lovers eager for the chance to see their dog in a national TV commercial.

“Hank is truly honored to be representing a company such as Circuit City and firedog that holds such high regards for the welfare of canines everywhere,” said David Masini, the Raleigh, N.C. resident who submitted Hank for the contest. “We would like to thank the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue for giving him a chance at life and to raise awareness of rescue dogs everywhere. He will not disappoint!”

“We can’t thank Circuit City and Kodak enough for honoring our organization with this generous donation,” said Jennifer Edwards of Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue. “Working with Hank and the Masini’s has been such a treat throughout this entire process, and we’re truly thrilled tohave the opportunity to be involved.”

“We were looking for a dog that represents the fun, professional, loyal personality of firedog, and we’re thrilled to say we feel Hank really exhibits all of those qualities,” said Peter C. Weedfald, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Circuit City Stores, Inc. “Pet lovers across the country really rose to the call for prospective firedogs, and it represented an excellent way to spotlight the commitment of local charities and humane societies that care for animals in need.”

“One of the most rewarding aspects of picture taking is sharing your favorite memories and we were thrilled by the enthusiastic response of pet owners to show off their furry friends,” said Tim Palmer, Vice President Consumer Digital Group, Director Americas Marketing Center. “Kodak is committed to helping people enjoy their photos in all sorts of new ways, from our easy-to-use dock that streams photos to your HDTV to our new inkjet printers that make home printing truly affordable.”

Circuit City announced the 20 “Find the next firedog” finalists on January 6, chosen from a pool of almost 7,000 submissions. Each of the 20 humane societies received $1,000 donations, and the finalists each received $1,000 Circuit City gift cards.

From November 4, 2007 through December 8, 2007, pet owners submitted digital photos of their dogs at A panel of expert Kodak judges narrowed down the entries to 20 finalists, and from January 6 through 26, 2008, dog lovers from across the country were invited back to the same Web site to vote for their favorite photo and thereby choose the star of an upcoming firedog TV commercial.

In addition to the initial $1000 donation, Circuit City contributed one dollar for each online vote into a shared prize pool. With 55,633 votes cast, the vote-based donations will be distributed as follows (Dog, Organization, Location, Vote-Based Donation):

Hank: Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue, Raleigh, NC $9798
Harley: SPCA, Mobile, AL $5783
Shooter: Marathon Animal Shelter, Marathon, FL $4414
Woody: Abandoned Animal Rescue , Tomball, TX $4282
Spanky: Greenhill Humane Society, Eugene, OR $3449
Jonesy: Proverbs 12:10 Animal Burns Rescue, TN $3233
Hidden Jewel: Southside SPCA, Meherrin, VA $3174
Sydney Montgomery County Humane Society, Rockville, MD $2995
Summitt: Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary, Ovado, MT $2641
Toby: Atlanta Pet Rescue, Atlanta, GA $2491
Doni: Florence Area Humane Society, Florence, OR $2261
Trinity: Lollipop Farm, Brockport, NY $1876
Milo: Project PAWS, Daytona Beach, FL $1830
Jackson: New Leash on Life, Newhall, CA $1675
Kirby: Nevada SPCA No Kill Animal Shelter, Las Vegas, NV $1542
Meka: Humane Society of Cambria County, Johnstown, PA $1153
Jasmine: Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline, Honesdale, PA $1049
Lika: Humane Society of Broward County, Ft. Lauderdale, FL $686
Bellatrix: Rockbridge SPCA , Lexington, VA $672
Charlie: Edward & Lillian Bishop Animal Shelter, Bradenton, FL $629
TOTAL $55,633


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