The 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks is approaching and hopefully you’ll be able to take the time to attend a memorial or at least spare a moment to reflect on that day. We’ve done our best at moving on and safeguarding the country since then, and we’ve also banded together in many ways to help both the heroes and victims of the attack. And then some assholes just thought it’d be an easy way to make a buck. Because, make no mistake, wherever there’s suffering and charity, there’s an asshat looking to find a way to get a free TV and some new shoes out of the deal. Here’s a few of the more notable ones! If you see them on the streets, it’s OK to spit on them.
Kevin Held is a scumbag. He had the brilliant idea to make a memorial quilt for 9/11, which is kind of a sucky memorial to begin with, but crafty people like that sort of thing. Also bumbleberry crumble and herbal teas. Anyway, Held promised the quilt would be able to cover 25 football fields and it would be made up of individual squares decorated by unicorns or some such thing. Doesn’t matter, it never happened. There are a few hundred sheets in a warehouse somewhere collecting dust.
Despite the lack of an actual quilt, Held managed to collect $713,000, which is an assload of money for bedding. You’d think the quilt would have been made from solid gold and platinum goose down, but of course Held needed to pay himself for his hard work so that cost $175,000. Plus he needed to be able to travel, and that meant a $200 a week car allowance. Plus he needed to have his rent reimbursed. Plus he needed to be repaid $45,000 for a loan. You know, that $45,000 loan? You don’t know? Well, you could ask the chairman of the board for the charity about it, an 84 year old Catholic priest. Oh wait, no, you can’t. He didn’t even know he was the chairman of the charity, Held never told him.
If you’re wondering what Held is up to today, reports tell us he’s moving into a $660,000 house overlooking a lake. Probably paid for it with hard work, though. And boxes of nice quilts.
A lot of people died at the World Trade Center and a lot of family members and loved ones were left behind to deal with their loss and a hell of a lot of red tape as well. Lucky for them, organizations like the Red Cross were on hand to assist people who had suffered losses. Patrick Henn was one of those people, he had lost his partner Jeff Anderson in the attack and requested aid. He received $87,000 from the Red Cross but his loss was so great he was forced to complain that $87,000 was not enough. And that may be true, as a good imagination is priceless and Jeff Anderson only existed in Patrick’s imagination.
A run of the mill scammer will claim someone who died was their husband or wife. An exceptional scammer will make up a whole person, say they were born on the 4th of July, and then continually file expense reports with a charity for hotel stays, dinners and a new apartment while continually brushing off requests for any proof whatsoever that this person was even born, let alone died in the attack.
After bilking the Red Cross, Henn attempted to get money from a group specifically set up to help gay families impacted by the attack. This group, however, wanted proof up front of Henn’s loss. And, because when you’re an asshole you’re often too stupid to know you’re an asshole, rather than leave well enough alone, Henn went to the press to complain that the group was stonewalling him. As the details of his story change, the paper got curious and investigated, discovering Anderson never existed and Henn was little more than a bum who’d been evicted from numerous places before discovering he could get charities to pay his way in life.
It took a few months but eventually Henn was arrested and prosecuted under Florida’s little used Douchebag Law.
Bear the Dog
God, everyone loves a heroic animal. Did you know there was a dog with the SEALs who took out bin Laden? He had titanium teeth, it’s insane. Dogs are pretty amazing in a pinch and we’ve trained them to be invaluable in any number of fields, including search and rescue. So when you hear about a brave little mutt who helped rescue survivors after the towers collapsed, that shit is heart warming. But, since we’re three entries into this article already, you know it’s a load of crap.
Scott Shields took his dog Bear all the way from Connecticut to help rescue September 11th survivors. Bear was the first dog on the scene, in fact (not a fact, but shh). He worked 18 hour days and found the highest number of survivors including the Fire Chief. Wow! (not wow).
Bear was written up by major media outlets like CNN, NY Post and others. He even got an award from the goddamn UN.
As it happens, when Shields arrived with Bear, he was asked to leave because Bear was not a search and rescue dog. But Shields made up the stories and wrote a book about the dog anyway. In fact (real fact) Shields pulled so many scams relating to himself and his dog that even extended beyond September 11th, it’d be easier to just bullet list them. So let’s do that;
- Started a charity in his dog’s name but most of the funds were unaccounted for
- Scammed an insurance company to pay vet bills for injuries the dog sustained at Ground Zero
- Referred to himself continually as captain despite having no military or law enforcement background. Dude didn’t even have a boat.
- Claimed he’d also helped with the Oklahoma City bombing, which he didn’t.
- Claimed he’d helped after an earthquake in Turkey. Didn’t.
- Hurricane Katrina? Didn’t go there either.
- Got $38,000 from FEMA and $10,000 from the Red Cross that had been earmarked for those needing assistance after September 11th. Shields didn’t move to Manhattan until after September 11th.
- After being convicted and serving a prison term, he continued to tour and do live appearances where he kept shoveling the same bullshit story, until he was caught again for probation violation and ordered to basically stop being a douche.