Charges filed in bogus trade center death claims
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Twenty-three people have been arrested for filing false death certificates claiming they lost family members in the World Trade Center attacks, authorities said.
The joint announcement from the Manhattan district attorney, the New York attorney general and the New York police commissioner on Thursday said 15 of those charged have already collected a total of $760,465 in relief funds. Another eight defendants were arrested before they could cash in on their fraudulent claims.
In one case, Daniel Djoro who claimed a fictitious brother had been at the World Trade Center for a business meeting on September 11 received $272,800 from two charities, prosecutors said.
The defendants are to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on felony grand larceny and false records charges.
Thirteen defendants are from the New York metropolitan area. The other 10 are from Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Utah, Puerto Rico, and China.
The arrests come after a three-month, multi-agency investigation which showed, according to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, that con artists from around the nation had been preying on the country's generosity after the World Trade Center attacks.
"We will vigorously pursue each and every one of these cases, as well as any that we uncover in the future," Morgenthau said.
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