SEE IMPORTANT UPDATE TO THIS POST HERE.
Scott will appear before US District Judge Robert Sweet in courtroom 18c (United States Courthouse: 500 Pearl St., Room 1920, New York, NY 10007) on Tuesday, September 14, 2008. My disability keeps me homebound much of the time so I’d love to hear from anyone who believes they may be in the courtroom for this long-awaited event.
The sentencing recommendations, however, have already been made (and most likely agreed upon). I have reproduced the 17 page (pdf) finding which folks can see by clicking here.
Essentially, Scott Shields was sentenced to 8 months in prison, then 3 years supervised release, and is required to make restitution of all the money plus an additional $300, as well as submit to mental health counseling. His sister Patty was sentenced to 12 months and one day, plus all that noted for Scott.
The ruling also noted that on April 25, 1990, Scott had been arrested on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, and on October 24, 1990, was sentenced to 3 years probation and 6 months home confinement, as well as being required to make a $147,804 restitution and special assessment, in the US District Court for Connecticut. I guess once a conman, always a conman.
Unfortunately, there is no mention of the even greater sum of money that Scott has misappropriated from his nonprofit foundation. Nor, is there any mention of the monies taken, over several years, via SSA disability and Workman’s Compensation with respect to his supposed Ground Zero injuries.
It is hard to believe that it is already two years since I wrote the article, TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness. Unfortunately, I’ve had difficulty generating mainstream interest in this story, and Scott has caused irreparable damage to the typically unheralded Search & Rescue heroes who are always there for us at devastating urban disasters …. such as that at Ground Zero following the infamous 9/11 attacks. And, he has continued to take money from unsuspecting folks as he touts his purported heroic deeds at trade shows, elementary & middle schools, Boy Scout Group meetings, and more.
Besides his theft of government funds, mail fraud & conspiracy to defraud the US after receiving almost $50,000 from FEMA and the American Red Cross, Scott Shields has collected years of disability for his purported Ground Zero injuries. Funny, how despite a claim of breaking both knees and an ankle, that he was doing just fine about a month later while walking behind Hilary Clinton in the October 8, 2001 Columbus Day parade.
Lt Dan Donadio, head of the NYPD’s canine teams in 2001, had 25 teams on the site round the clock for nine long months, scraping through the pulverized concrete. Scott Shields was down at Ground Zero for a little over a day, but managed to spin his experience into an epic. And, always on the look-out for the next big disaster, he further tried to benefit from the Katrina disaster.
Shields claimed 847 live rescues, evacuating under 6000 people, and that 11,000 people are alive today because of his group. Yet, rescuers who were there indicated the following: “His numbers exceed the entire 82nd Airborne’s numbers including the Superdome evacuation. So even if he took credit for all of their hard work, his numbers are still an aberration. … Scott was escorted out of LA and was on the water only ONE DAY. I spoke to the Chief and Superintendent of NOPD. They told me they never heard of Scott and there was NO WAY he rescued 5,000 or 11,000. … In those pictures, if you look, he is in shorts and just shoes, looks like he is on vacation while everyone else has knee pads on and is working, and that was just at camp.”
I have learned that the true heroes out there are not easily found. They do not do this job for the fanfare. They do not have media agents working on getting them mentioned in endless news articles. They are not obsessed with gaining notoriety. In fact, they’d rather not be in the spotlight. Rather, they struggle and train and work hard because they can, because they know they can help a fellow human being. These folks are a gifted bunch, and we do depend on their spirit of giving . . . for that time when it may be our lives hanging in the balance.