By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com December 24 2002 12:00 AM ET
Police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are looking for a man who they say bilked the American Red Cross out of $68,000 by claiming his domestic partner died in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center towers, reports the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
Patric Ian Henn, 27, has not been seen in Fort Lauderdale since The Express, a gay newspaper, wrote a story in February accusing him of fraud. Henn may be living outside of New Orleans, according to Norm Kent, the publisher of the newspaper.
Now that investigators and the Florida state attorney's office have a warrant charging Henn
with larceny and grand theft, detectives will be pursuing him "hot and heavy," said detective Dennis Salsberry.
Kent said Henn hastened his own undoing by calling the Express to tell his sob story. "Patric Henn called me up to say he was a victim of 9/11 and was dissatisfied with how quickly the funds were coming from the gay relief agency in New York as opposed to the Red Cross, which had been so nice to him," Kent said.
Henn told Kent the same story he told the relief agencies. His partner, Jeff Anderson, was attending a meeting with Merrill Lynch at the World Trade Center when terrorists flew hijacked planes into the buildings. Anderson was the breadwinner in the relationship and supported Henn's lavish lifestyle, Henn said.
The Red Cross bought the story and doled out more than $68,000 in cash, travel expenses, and rent payments. But Kent quickly grew suspicious. Henn kept changing his story and had no documentation to confirm anything he said.
"I've been a criminal defense lawyer for 25 years; I know a con man when I see one," Kent said.
After the Express broke the story, Kent turned his information over to Fort Lauderdale police detective Jim Pott. It took Pott nine months to complete his investigation because the American Red Cross was slow in turning over files, Kent said.