A man who collected $68,000 by falsely claiming that a domestic partner died in the September 2001 terrorist attacks pleaded guilty to grand theft Wednesday.
Patric Henn, 29, admitted making up the story to steal from the American Red Cross. He could face up to 15 years in prison at sentencing Jan. 19.
Henn told charity organizations and the media that a partner, Jeff John Anderson, died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. A South Florida gay newspaper that interviewed him, the Express, exposed holes in the tale, and Henn soon disappeared. Fort Lauderdale police issued an arrest warrant in December 2002, and Henn was arrested in June 2003 in Dallas.
Red Cross officials have filed a statement with the court asking for Henn to receive the harshest possible sentence. James M. Byrne, assistant general counsel with the Red Cross, criticized Henn's "outrageous misconduct and greed."
In addition to the Red Cross, Henn sought aid from Empire State Pride Agenda. The organization loaned him $1,000 but grew suspicious after Henn couldn't provide any evidence documenting his relationship. When the group refused to give Henn benefits, Henn threatened to complain about the organization to the gay media, said group spokesman Joe Tarver.
"He and others who did this belong in a hall of shame." Tarver said.