Oct 04, 2011 News
Cyril Kendall bilked charities of $160,000 by concocting a fictitious son he claimed died in the 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Center.
A Queens, New York man convicted of the largest 9/11 swindle is getting out of prison after serving less than half his maximum sentence.
Cyril Kendall, 61, bilked kindhearted charities of $160,000 by concocting a fictitious son he claimed died in the 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Centre.
Kendall was sentenced in August 2003 to serve up to 20 years in prison, but the Daily News has learned he has been approved for early release from the Fishkill Correctional Facility.
The state Parole Board granted Kendall’s release from the upstate prison just two days after the country observed the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
A condition of his freedom requires he be booted out of the country, an official at the state Parole Division told The Daily News.
Kendall’s release date has not been set, but he is expected to be turned over soon to federal immigration authorities for deportation back to his native Guyana, the official said.
“I hope that some vehicle is in place for him to pay those charities back because their heart was in the right place,” said Diane Horning, founder of WTC Families for Proper Burial.
“I just think it’s sad that he felt the need to do that, because who would want to put themselves in my position,” said Horning, whose 26-year-old son, Matthew, died at the twin towers.
“You can’t possibly know what it feels like or you would never want to put yourself in that position.”
Kendall was convicted of grand larceny and fraud after cheating several charities of benefits, including grief counseling for himself and burial funds for a son prosecutors maintained never existed.
He claimed his youngest son, Wilfred, 29, was killed in the terror attacks while attending a job interview on the 91st floor of the north tower.
Kendall, the father of 12, presented the charities with a photograph of his dead son and a birth certificate. Investigators later determined the photo was of Kendall at a younger age and that the birth certificate was a forgery.
His biggest target was the American Red Cross, which was bilked of $119,000 – the most fraudulently obtained by a single individual.
Kendall has yet to pay back a dime of the pilfered funds, a Red Cross spokesman said.
While considered the lowest of the low, Kendall’s scam wasn’t original. He was among 22 people arrested in March 2002 for falsely filing death certificates for nonexistent family members and collecting $759,565 in charitable funds, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
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