Finally, a newspaper reports on this Ground Zero Liar & Felon

li.jpgSept. 11 fraud nets jail term for man
W. Windsor resident lied to obtain FEMA assistance
BY KEVIN SHEA, The Times of Trenton News, October 17, 2008

Scott Shields, the West Windsor man whose dramatic stories of rescuing victims in New York following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and in New Orleans after Hurricane Ka trina have largely been debunked, has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining government money.

Shields also was sentenced to three years of supervised release once he is freed from prison, and he and his sister Patricia Shields, a co- defendant in the case who received the same sentence, will also have to pay back nearly $50,000 in money they had sent to them by federal agencies in 2002.

The sentence was handed down Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The siblings had been indicted on three counts: theft of government funds, mail fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Scott Shields’ lawyer, Joel M. Stein, declined to comment yesterday on the sentencing.

Shields and his sister received $38,906 from the Federal Emer gency Management Agency and $10,553 from the American Red Cross after making false claims to the agencies in 2002 that they lived near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

They actually lived in Greenwich, Conn., at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the FEMA money was meant for rental or mortgage assistance to people who lived near the World Trade Center site.

And while the Shieldses later moved to Lower Manhattan following the attacks, the Red Cross assistance money was meant for victims who lived below Canal Street at the time of the attacks.

Court papers show the Shields siblings did not move to Lower Manhattan until October 2001.

Moreover, court records show the Shieldses were evicted from their Connecticut residence for nonpayment of rent, never used any of the FEMA money for their Manhattan apartment, and that they were “entirely delinquent” in rent from the time they moved in until they were evicted from that residence as well.

Scott Shields later moved to West Windsor.

Shields, who gave himself the rank of “captain,” had wowed the media and the public with his dramatic tales of mass rescues in New Orleans in 2005, and of his heroic K-9 work with his beloved dog Bear after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some of the stories appeared in The Times.

The stories about Bear, who Shields said died in 2003 due to 9/11 injuries, led to the creation of a charitable foundation in the dog’s name and a book about his ex ploits as well. But the accounts eventually were called into question by many authorities and animal rescue specialists.

For example, Shields had claimed he and Bear found the most victims during the rescue efforts following 9/11.

But in 2007, retired New York City Police Lt. Dan Donadio, a former K9 officer whose teams led the Ground Zero recovery efforts, said he told Shields to leave the site during the initial hours of the recovery effort because Bear was not a trained rescue dog and might mislead emergency workers.

For background, see my comprehensive article and indexing of 30 blog postings/stories.

Self-Proclaimed Hero Scott Shields: Lessons in Humility

SEE IMPORTANT OCTOBER 15, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

So much is going on right now, with a complicated election, touching us all. But the attacks on one’s character and patriotism have been particularly repugnant. It seems that within the divisiveness of McCain’s pursuit of the presidency, the integral constructs of both honesty and humility have been lost.

Matt Langdon, creator of the Hero Workshop program, recently asked the pivotal question, Is John McCain a Hero? Yet, he admits that “an American presidential election is not the place to look for the truth about people.”

McCain’s public persona is very much steeped in the idea that he is an American hero. He leads with his character out front and his service to his country right along side. So, what makes him a hero? McCain’s focus on character first is another possibility for claiming the hero status. His own words describe a desire to act as an example of honour and service for everyone, especially his children. Those same words describe some quiet, everyday heroic behaviour from one of his captors. And yet many would tell you McCain lacks those very qualities. In general, the POW/MIA activist community hates him as pointed out in depth in the Phoenix New Times. Patty O’Grady of University of Tampa lays the cards on the table with some open questions. Her father was in both prison camps that McCain was in.

  • In the interest of full disclosure why do you refuse to release your Department of Defense POW debriefing?
  • In the interest of full disclosure why have you failed to release all military medical records including psychological studies – 1973-1993?
  • Why do you only reference the time spent as a prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton”?
  • When will you provide details about the time spent in the prison referred to as “Plantation Gardens”?
  • Did you ever receive any preferential or atypical treatment while a POW in any location where you were held? How soon and when did you reveal your true identity to your Vietnamese captors – did you simply give name, rank and serial number?
  • Has any other former Vietnam Prisoners of War or Vietnam veteran questioned the record that you claim particularly your claims of “torture”?
  • What was your connection to the “Peace Committee”?
  • Have you ever referenced the “blue files” in any speech that you have given? What are the “blue files”? Where are those files housed? Why do you not want those files released?
  • Have you ever lost your temper with military families who challenged your position?
  • Have you ever acted in an inappropriate way or in a less than gentlemanly manner with any female spouse of any active duty military personnel member?

Eric Wattree says, “A hero is one who acts with nobility of purpose, and selflessly sacrifices his life, or places his life in imminent danger to promote the interests of the nation or his comrades. That doesn’t define McCain…”

In Dr. Mark Strom’s chapter, Humility, from the 2003 book, The Seven Heavenly Virtues of Leadership, he discusses humanity with nobility:

Clearly, humility does not exist in isolation from the other virtues, qualities and arts of leadership. When it comes to leadership there is perhaps one characteristic manner of being that stands out as the natural twin of humility. Humility and nobility. Humility with nobility:

Honor is not the same as public acclaim. Virtue is not determined in moments of public attention to our behavior. Courage, devotion, compassion, humility — all the noble human qualities — are not practiced in pursuit of public approval. They are means to much nobler ends. And they are ends in themselves. Senator John McCain

According to the Concise Macquarie Dictionary, to be noble is to be: Admirable in dignity of conception, or in manner of expression, execution, or composition; imposing in appearance; stately; magnificent; of an admirably high quality.

We are not talking about nobility in the sense of ranks made elite by birth or decree, but of nobility of purpose, and of a personal bearing that befits that purpose.

While I believe the Senator’s statement is merely words put to paper, rather than revealing his true character, Dr. Strom’s article in its entirety is a MUST-READ. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of humility as it relates to other virtues and qualities.

Humility needs to be seen in relationship to our other virtues and qualities. It is inward looking in a way most other virtues are not. Humility is a stance I take towards myself before it is a stance I take towards others. With the possible exception of integrity, the other virtues are mostly a stance we take towards others and the wider challenges of life. I’m not saying that humility is the most important. The virtues need to be seen as interdependent. Each needs to be seen in the light of the others. Humility without compassion, courage or integrity is hollow. Without humility the other virtues may become parodies: Compassion without humility is likely to be patronising. Courage without humility is likely to be foolhardy. Humour without humility is likely to be cruel. Integrity without humility is likely to be self-righteous. Passion without humility is likely to be overbearing. Wisdom without humility is likely to be pompous.

Tim Dickinson, in his breathtaking new MUST-READ October 2008 Rolling Stone article, Make-Believe Maverick: A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty, has truly addressed the character of this man. His lead anecdote and beginning “McCAIN FIRST” story premise frame the tale perfectly:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

It seems that this backdrop so perfectly frames a story that I have been pursuing since shortly after September 11, 2001, as we were jolted by a coordinated attack upon our country—carried out by nineteen hijackers who took control of four commercial airliners. 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. And, looking at this title, it is spookily prescient when we look at the McCain campaign’s incessant POW story push.

But my article is one that detailed a sad case of 9/11 fraud from self-proclaimed Search & Rescue hero, Scott Shields. While I do not believe that the wheels of justice will ever turn in this case, sentencing is scheduled to proceed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 14, 2008. Unfortunately, I’ve had difficulty generating mainstream interest in this story, and Mr. Shields 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 continues to collect disability for his Ground Zero injuries. Interestingly, despite claims of breaking both knees and an ankle, 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.

Mr. 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.

Scott Shields: Just a victim of truthiness

SEE IMPORTANT OCTOBER 15, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

ohno.gifI marvel at Scott’s unique version of the truth in this July 19th news article at New Jersey On-Line.

You can also go here to blog about your opinions on the above article. I see that the first comment obviously came from a Shields supporter.

To learn more about this saga from its beginnings, just go to TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness

Supposed Golden Retriever loving 9-11 hero finally exposed

bearatrest.jpg

SEE IMPORTANT OCTOBER 15, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

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.

Golden Retriever Loving? Scott Shields – What happened to the fraud probe?

SEE IMPORTANT OCTOBER 15, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

Leslie Linthicum, of the Albuquerque Journal completed the following series of articles almost 3 years ago and I only wish I had discovered them sooner.

I would love her to become involved with the infamous Scott Shields, who I detailed in the article, TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness.

Evidence of his fraud has never been fully investigated, even though it was detailed in the New York Post’s September 25, 2006 article, FRAUD PROBE HOUNDS RESCUER.

____________________________________________________________
New Mexican’s Claims of Ground Zero Rescue Work Called Into Question

A 9/11 Phony — a series published starting July 11, 2004
Self-proclaimed rescue guru Doug Copp’s mission to ground zero was considered so important that he had clearance to be flown to New York even though all civilian air traffic in the United States had been grounded. Once there, he says he assumed a pivotal role and sustained devastating injuries while wading through the “toxic soup” in search of survivors and victims, and was awarded nearly $650,000 for his injuries. But there is little evidence Copp performed real rescue work, and it is doubtful that he deserves compensation.

READ DAY 1:
Claims of Heroism Called Into Question
Appeals to 9/11 Fund Had Lawmakers’ Help
Justice Dept. Inquiry Requested by Udall
___________________________________________

READ DAY 2:
‘Bombero’ Arrives at Ground Zero
AG: Fund Raising Violated N.M. Law
Journal Jet Trips Not Unusual
___________________________________________

READ DAY 3:
Striking Out at Ground Zero
Doctors Differ on Ailments
Copp Apparently Missed 9/11 Fund Deadline
___________________________________________

READ DAY 4:
‘Knucklehead’ or Hero?
Copp Says Proof Is in the Footage
___________________________________________

CHECK OUT THESE FOLLOW UPS:
Widow Tells of Copp Ordeal (Sunday, July 18, 2004)
Feds Investigate 9/11 Injury Claim (Sunday, July 18, 2004)

Golden Retriever Bear’s sad legacy

SEE IMPORTANT OCTOBER 15, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

Six months ago we wrote an important article on how a Golden Retriever was used, and another continues to be used, to solicit funds (TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness).

While there are some hard working emergency workers who would like this travesty of justice to be addressed, it seems the wheels of justice move incredibly slow …. if they move at all.

Folks ask me why they see Scott Shields continuing in his public appearances. They ask me how he could be selected as the safety director for the Mayor’s Cup in NYC when he has no qualifications, and only refers to himself as “Captain” because that is how folks in Connecticut used to refer to him due to his having a boat. They ask why there was no follow-up to the investigation detailed in the New York Post (FRAUD PROBE HOUNDS RESCUER).

I have no answers, though. I will never have any answers. I only fear the innocent people who unknowlingly have him involved in any emergency or rescue situation.

But, on a lighter point, I was provided with the following link on MySpace. It is quite tongue-in-cheek, to say the least. And, the video that plays is sooooo funny.

Just click here.

Urban Legends

I just received one of those emails that spoke of emergency information that needed to be known and passed on to others.

It was about 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren’s parents have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc. Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called 677 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren’t, so he told her to keep driving, remain calm, and that he had back up already on the way.Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.

I never knew about the *677 Cell Phone feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a safe & quiet place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call *677 like Lauren did. Too bad the cell phone companies don’t generally give you this little bit of wonderful information. Speaking to a cell phone service representative, I confirmed that *677 was a direct link to State Police Dispatch. So, now it’s your turn to let your friends know about *677. Let other folks know about this. It may save a life.

So, I went to a page on Urban Legends and found a great page about this particular Pullover email that has circulated for years.

Just click here and you can print out a listing of emergency cellular phone numbers for each state.

Scott Shields – Rearing his ugly head again

bearatrest.jpg

SEE IMPORTANT OCTOBER 15, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

This photo shows an almost 12-year-old “Bear” during his 1 1/2 days on the pile at 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.

I guess it is fitting that on this military holiday I would receive the following post from David Klein about the infamous Scott Shields ( Fraud Probe Hounds Rescuer; Author, Nancy West providing real facts )

I have only lately become aware of the claims made against Shields. Your article serves to shed greater light. Until the aftermath of 9/11 I had never had any contact with rescue or therapy dogs of any kind. I worked as a volunteer, for six months, at St. Paul’s Chapel, across the street, literally in the shadow of the site. When Shields came to the Chapel with Bear he was greeted as a hero and Bear, G-d love him, was showered with affection. I am embarrassed to admit to having several pictures of myself, my wife (also a volunteer) and my son with Shields and Bear on the Broadway porch of the Chapel.

My wife and I subsequently ran into Shields (and Bear’s supposed “offspring,” Theodore) at several post-9/11 themed occasions. By that time, his constant self-promotion had started to grate on us, but we never would have suspected the depth of this man’s dishonesty and his seemingly effortless willingness to profit personally from the tragedy of 9/11. Even when we tried (unsuccessfully) to mail to him copies of some of the pictures we had (at his request) to an address supplied by him and had them bounced back as undeliverable, we did not suspect. I guess we were not yet over the typical “honeymoon” period following our experiences at Ground Zero, and were still willing to believe the best in everyone. Well, the honeymoon has come to a screeching end. Thank you for your tireless efforts to expose this #$@!&*. Keep it up.