Volume 20 Issue 11 | July 27 - Aug. 3, 2007

9/11 dog handler indicted for bilking FEMA, Red Cross

By Jennifer Milne

Downtown resident Scott Shields, often seen around Lower Manhattan in the days after Sept. 11 with his golden retriever rescue dog, Bear, has been indicted on three counts — conspiracy, theft of federal funds and mail fraud — according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He and his sister Patricia Shields, who was also indicted, both face up to 35 years in prison.

The indictment says Scott and Patricia Shields both applied to the American Red Cross for financial assistance, and that Scott Shields applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for mortgage and rental assistance in 2002. Both individuals then reapplied to FEMA for additional mortgage and rental assistance in 2003. U.S. Attorney records show Scott and Patricia Shields received approximately $38,906 in FEMA mortgage and rental assistance and a check for $10,533 from the American Red Cross.

According to the U.S. Attorney, both parties have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to next appear in court on Nov. 5.

Scott Shields was ubiquitous around Lower Manhattan with Bear immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, claiming to have helped make the only “live” finds at the W.T.C. site, of which there were none. Shields also collected funds for his and Bear’s health costs from many individuals. Bear died in September 2002, of cancer that allegedly started in a spot where he cut himself on a piece of metal while on the rubble pile at Ground Zero.

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