Scott Shields and his sister, Patty Shields, appeared before US District Judge Robert Sweet yesterday on Tuesday, October 14, 2008. The sentencing recommendations (seen here) had Scott Shields sentenced to 8 months in prison–then 3 years supervised release–with a requirement to make restitution of all the money plus an additional $300 and submit to mental health counseling. His sister Patty was sentenced to 12 months and one day, plus all that noted for Scott. The recommendations were followed for the most part, except that Patty’s sentence was reduced to 8 months.
In addition, the court decided to allow each felon to serve their sentences separately. Scott must report to Fort Dix, NJ’s Federal Minimum Security (country club type) Prison on November 12, 2008 to begin his time. And, during that time, Patty will remain free for the next 8 months, not needing to report for her prison sentence until Scott comes out. Unfortunately, that means she will be free to continue stealing monies through their bogus non-profit foundation. Obviously, the court had no comprehension of the fact that Scott and his sister have stolen far more money through the foundation than he did from FEMA and the Red Cross.
Many folks have been fighting for years for Scott to be investigated regarding his foundation monies, but to no avail. Many have filled out complaint forms with the state of NY regarding his foundation, but there has been no response. That is by far the bigger issue here as it allows both him and his sister to continue their criminal ways. Scott should be barred from ever being in a first responder role or in having such a nonprofit entity. How this can be achieved, however, is beyond my available knowledge.
It was interesting to see that within the ruling it was noted that Scott had a criminal record and that his current actions were so consistent with his con artist ways. Specifically, 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.
Not only does it seem like Scott is continuing to get away with murder, but it is amazing to see the lack of media reporting on him and his purported good deeds through his foundation. It is hard to accept but I guess he’s gotten away with misappropriating hundreds of thousands from his nonprofit foundation, and via SSA disability and Workman’s Compensation with respect to his supposed Ground Zero injuries. It is sad to see the lack of response from the state of NY.
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. In that article, I admitted to being taken in by this con-artist. I gave him a presence at my website, and collected over a thousand dollars for him (and his Golden Retriever Bear) through a raffle. But, that was not the true grievous aspect to my dealings with Shields.
Sadly, I learned that Scott was trying to build onto his 15 minutes of fame, but at the expense of his purportedly beloved Bear. Here was an animal who was quite senior in years at 12 years of age. An animal who had been injured by the dangerous metal debris on the pile. An animal that was used to either spending his summer days indoors in an air conditioned home or enjoying the cooling breezes off the Connecticut waters on Scott’s boat. But, tragically, now Bear was forced to walk the hot asphalt streets of the city day in and day out. Scott and Bear would venture out in the morning and continue until nighttime. Always dressed in his mock rescue outfit, embellished with numerous patches, with Bear sporting a bright orange rescue vest, Scott would seek out the folks who often frequented the area streets.
I was shocked to learn about what Bear was now being asked to endure, despite observers relating their own concerns about this to Scott. However, this fell on deaf ears despite the fact that Bear was reportedly now beginning to show outward signs of physical decline. So, I searched out veterinary health professionals in NYC that could possibly provide services for Bear. How excited I was when I learned of a woman who had a facility within blocks of Scott’s city residence, a facility that could provide hydrotherapy sessions for Bear. And, because Bear had been at Ground Zero, he would be given these quite expensive therapy appointments (over $100 per 30 minute session) at no charge. Excitedly, I relayed the great news to Scott, assuming that he would not delay in setting up appointments for Bear. Knowing how Bear loved the water, I thought this would be just perfect for him.
But, who could have predicted what happened next? Who knew that the reality of who Scott really was would finally hit home? You see, I was later contacted by the hydrotherapist who indicated that Scott had not come in for his scheduled appointments and no matter how often they were rescheduled for him, he just always failed to show. Obviously taking a huge financial loss in keeping these hours open for Scott, she finally had to sever this generous offer.
I contacted Scott who was unable to deny any of this. The man who was so concerned about his wonderful Bear just didn’t want to take the time away from parading up and down the streets. I guess it just wasn’t that important in the scheme of things. Such blatant disregard and neglect was beyond my comprehension, and I felt humiliated about having presented his story as an honest one. And although I removed every mention of Scott Shields and Bear from my site in the summer of 2002, the stench still remained.
DEATH SPRINGS ETERNAL
I continued to be updated about Scott’s sordid story, learning that Bear died on September 23, 2002, at almost 13 years of age. The proceedings following his death were filmed, as was his funeral. And, while it is not on film, and certainly only hearsay, I heard that Scott’s sister incongruously asked, “What do we do now? He’s dead.”
In my naiveté I could not even begin to fathom what was to be set in motion. I thought Scott would pocket the memories from his small brush with fame, and go on his way. But, just the opposite occurred. This silly man’s claims of having the most celebrated dog were actually being taken seriously. And, it appeared that the prodigious firm of Proskauer Rose LLP was also taken in by this man—despite his repeated evictions, poor business practices & bankruptcy—affording him even more credibility in their formation of his foundation in Bear’s memory.
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.