Vile 9-11 vultures

Michelle Malkin

7/16/2003 12:00:00 AM - Michelle Malkin

The fraud trial of Cyril Kendall begins this week in New York City.

Kendall is a 52-year-old Guyanese national who has apparently used every chance he has had in America, including the Sept. 11 attacks, to scheme and scam. He faces felony grand larceny and forgery charges related to an absolutely obscene crime of opportunity.

After the Twin Towers collapsed, Kendall cooked up the Father of All Sob Stories, according to authorities. This father of 12 invented a "13th child" who he claimed had died in the World Trade Center. Kendall said he dropped off "Wilfred" for a job interview at the American Bureau of Shipping, a real business that was located on the 91st floor of the North Tower.

To prove "Wilfred's" existence, Kendall allegedly supplied aid workers with a photo of himself as a young man. He is also accused of filing a fake certificate of disposition to support the "son's" death claim. Kendall collected a whopping $190,867 from the American Red Cross and Safe Horizon (a New York City-based nonprofit that helped distribute September 11 Fund grants). While countless bona fide victims faced an uphill battle getting a single cent from these charities, this sicko cashed in quickly.

The money is gone; relatives have since confirmed with police that there is no "Wilfred." It was Kendall's biggest score yet.

Kendall, you see, has had a long history of trying to milk the system, exploit his own family, and live a twisted version of the American Dream. At a hearing Monday in Manhattan to review Kendall's criminal history before trial, it was revealed that Kendall had once attempted to sue one of his real sons (who was in prison at the time) for painting stairs upon which Kendall claimed he had slipped. The suit was dismissed. Kendall also unsuccessfully sued an employer for firing him after he reportedly falsified his resume; the online correspondence school from which he claimed to have earned a PhD; and the Bank of New York for millions of dollars after one of his checks bounced. Cases dismissed.

One case not dismissed: In 1988, Kendall was convicted of the statutory rape of one of his own daughters, according to the U.S. District Attorney's office in Manhattan. He served four months.

Kendall, of course, is not alone. Dozens of vile 9-11 vultures emerged after the terrorist slaughter nearly two years ago, including:

-- Daniel Djoro, who reported that his brother, "Daniel Zagbre," had perished during the attacks while at the World Trade Center for a business meeting. He produced his "brother's" Social Security number and driver's license to prove "Zagbre's" existence to Red Cross officials, who had kindly flown him from Lansing, Mich., to New York City. But "Daniel Zagbre" was in fact a fictitious name the defendant himself had used. Djoro scammed an easy $272,800 out of the Red Cross and Safe Horizon. He was convicted of fraud last year.

-- Tyrone Darks, who filed a death claim for his wife from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary's death row. He reportedly applied for between $300,000 and $1 million from the September 11 Victims Compensation, claiming his wife was killed during a visit to the Twin Towers. Darks' wife was dead alright. She was murdered in 1994; it was Darks who was convicted of slaying her.

-- Chinese national Zhingang Ma, who reported that his wife died at the World Trade Center on the day of the attacks while meeting friends for breakfast. Ma received $10,000 from Safe Horizon. His wife is alive and living in Japan.

-- Puerto Rican national Luz Morales-Cotto, who claimed that her daughter had a job interview at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and that she had not heard from her since. The "grieving" mother collected $16,500 from the Red Cross and Safe Horizon and $5,000 in Social Security survivor benefits. Morales knew all along that her daughter was alive and well in Puerto Rico.

We can't do anything to rid ourselves of homegrown 9-11 con artists, but legal permanent resident aliens such as Kendall can be deported if convicted of crimes involving fraud or deceit in an amount exceeding $10,000. Kick them out and keep them out. These callous scavengers of tragedy don't deserve to call America home.