Prosecutors have moved to reclaim around $22 million that was taken by scammers and fraudsters in the aftermath of 9/11. Unfortunately, they had hundreds of claims that turned out to be bogus, with leeches using the tragedy to collect thousands of dollars a year.
For example, one famous case that really hit people in the heart was Glenn Lieberman, a former NYPD officer received more than $175,000 by claiming that his role in the 9/11 attacks left him so traumatized that he couldn’t leave the house anymore. Then pictures surfaced of him on his jetski’s in his waterfront mansion in Florida.
He was already ordered to pay a large sum back and serve community service, but many have not yet.
The courts say at least 120 people – many of them unfortunately, first responders – have sought plea deals.
The Daily Mail has more:
One former officer Richard Cosentino was photographed in Costa Rica after landing a massive fish while on a boat trip.
He received a conditional discharge and was ordered to repay more than $200,000
One case to still appear before the courts is that of former officer Louis Hurtado, who is accused of scamming $470,000 over the course of 26 years.
Prosecutors claim Hurtado has been offering martial arts training despite claiming his disability has left him incapable of working.
As well as police officers, the scam also involved members of the New York Fire Department and officers from the Department of Corrections.
Speaking at the time of the arrests in 2014, DA Cyrus Vance Jnr said: ‘For years, federal taxpayers have unwittingly financed the lifestyles of the defendants.
‘Many participants cynically manufactured claims of mental illness as a result of September 11th, dishonoring the first responders who did serve their City at the expense of their own health and safety. This alleged scam further depleted the already limited resources available for battling the real and complex conditions of PTSD and depression.’