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Grave-Robbing Identity Thieves Target Victims of Surfside Condo Collapse

There’s a special place in Hades for folks like this.

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Being a criminal is one thing; being despicable is another entirely.  There are criminals with plenty of humanity, and often thanks to their copious amounts of desperation.  And, of course, there are the inhumane who’ve never seen the back seat of a cop car, or cheated a friend out of even $20.

But then there is the morbidly malicious combination of a criminal unbound by the tenets of humanity.  These are your pedophiles, rapists, and murderers.  These are the cruelest of the cruel, and the undeniably sick.

Some would likely argue that grave robbers deserve to be a part of this conversation, and it’s hard to disagree with that…especially if those doing the robbing are targeting victims of tragedy.

 The three alleged thieves charged with stealing the identities of the victims of the June 24 collapse of a condominium complex in Surfside, Fla., are expected to appear in bond court Thursday.

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The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that Betsy Alexandra Cacho Medina, 30, Rodney Choute, 38, and Kimberly Michelle Johnson, 34, all of Northeast Miami-Dade, have been arrested in the alleged scheme, which targeted at least seven victims in the collapse of the Champlain Tower South Condominium. Five of the seven victims were killed, while the other two whose identities were stolen survived.

Charges include organized scheme to defraud and several counts of identity fraud, the Miami Herald reported.

And these weren’t exactly amateurs, either.

The three suspects stole at least $45,000 using the identities of Surfside victims and unsuccessfully attempted to make withdrawals and purchases totaling an additional $67,000, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

“We discussed that cyber-grave robbers move quickly after the collapse to grab what they could from deceased victims while families and friends were in emotional turmoil,” Fernandez Rundle said. “These individuals appear to be very skilled identity thieves.”

And they moved quickly, indeed.

Victims began noticing fraudulent activity just 16 days after the tragic collapse of the condominium tower.

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Brian Laundrie’s Notebook Contains Details of Gabby Petito’s Death

Perhaps some closure can finally be afforded to Gabby’s family.

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At long last, some form of closure could be coming to the family of Gabby Petito.

Petito was at the center of one of the most bizarre crime stories of 2021, after her fiancé Brian Laundrie returned home from a joint cross-country road trip without her and immediately refused to cooperate with authorities who were investigating her disappearance.  Then, shortly after arriving back in Florida, Laundrie himself went missing.

Weeks late, Laundrie’s partial remains were found in a nature preserve near this family home along with a notebook.  Laundrie was determined to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Now, after months of waiting and wondering, the contents of the aforementioned notebook have been revealed.

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Petito’s family was in Florida on Thursday morning, roughly four months after their daughter was found strangled to death in Wyoming. An attorney representing Laundrie’s family said they had reached an agreement about how the couple’s property – including a notebook found with his remains – will be distributed.

The notebook contained “written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death,” according to the FBI.

“Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI, specifically the Wyoming, Denver, New York and Tampa offices, all of their task force members and their assisting agencies,” Petito/Schmidt family lawyer Rick Stafford said in a Friday statement. “Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI’s Victim Services Department for all they have done for them. Victim Services has been there for support from the earliest stages of this investigation and helped their entire family navigate through the worst moments of their lives.”

The story had captured the attention of world, and while this is undoubtedly a heartbreaking end to the tale, perhaps the Petito family can now take the next steps in their recovery.

At long last, some form of closure could be coming to the family of Gabby Petito. Petito was at the center of one of the most bizarre crime stories of 2021, after her fiancé Brian Laundrie returned home from a joint cross-country road trip without her and immediately refused to cooperate with authorities who were investigating her disappearance.  Then, shortly after arriving back in Florida, Laundrie himself went missing. Weeks late, Laundrie’s partial remains were found in a nature preserve near this family home along with a notebook.  Laundrie was determined to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Now, after months of waiting and wondering, the contents of the aforementioned notebook have been revealed. Petito’s family was in Florida on Thursday morning, roughly four months after their daughter was found strangled to death in Wyoming. An attorney representing Laundrie’s family said they had reached an agreement about how the couple’s property – including a notebook found with his remains – will be distributed. The notebook contained “written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death,” according to the FBI. “Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI, specifically the Wyoming, Denver, New York and Tampa offices, all of their task force members and their assisting agencies,” Petito/Schmidt family lawyer Rick Stafford said in a Friday statement. “Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI’s Victim Services Department for all they have done for them. Victim Services has been there for support from the earliest stages of this investigation and helped their entire family navigate through the worst moments of their lives.” The story had captured the attention of world, and while this is undoubtedly a heartbreaking end to the tale, perhaps the Petito family can now take the next steps in their recovery.

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US Ponders Diplomatic Evacuation as Putin Moves on Ukraine

Sign #475 that things are going south in Ukraine…

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The way Vladimir Putin tells it, we’re all just overreacting to his placement of hundreds of thousands of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.

Of course, this is classic Putin.  The Russian President has long understood the ins-and-outs of the antagonization game, and is likely just pushing buttons for the sake of pushing buttons…at least in his recent diatribes.

But there is little doubt that he’s up to something, and the US isn’t going to take any chances when it comes to innocent Americans who are now in the line of potential fire.

The U.S. is weighing whether to evacuate family members of diplomats stationed in Ukraine as Russia masses more than 100,000 troops on its borders, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Under the plan, family members would be ordered to return home while non-essential employees would be able to leave voluntarily. An announcement may come within days, according to the people, who asked not to be identified before a decision is reached.

The ruble erased gains on the news, falling 0.1% against the dollar. Yields on most Russian local currency sovereign bonds rose on Friday.

The operation would be no small task.

The U.S. employs about 180 American citizens and 560 Ukrainians at its embassy in Kyiv, according to the embassy website. That doesn’t include family members, so the number of U.S. citizens living in embassy housing is probably much higher.

While Putin has consistently suggested to the global media that this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion, these actions by the US State Department speak volumes.

The way Vladimir Putin tells it, we’re all just overreacting to his placement of hundreds of thousands of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. Of course, this is classic Putin.  The Russian President has long understood the ins-and-outs of the antagonization game, and is likely just pushing buttons for the sake of pushing buttons…at least in his recent diatribes. But there is little doubt that he’s up to something, and the US isn’t going to take any chances when it comes to innocent Americans who are now in the line of potential fire. The U.S. is weighing whether to evacuate family members of diplomats stationed in Ukraine as Russia masses more than 100,000 troops on its borders, according to people familiar with the matter. Under the plan, family members would be ordered to return home while non-essential employees would be able to leave voluntarily. An announcement may come within days, according to the people, who asked not to be identified before a decision is reached. The ruble erased gains on the news, falling 0.1% against the dollar. Yields on most Russian local currency sovereign bonds rose on Friday. The operation would be no small task. The U.S. employs about 180 American citizens and 560 Ukrainians at its embassy in Kyiv, according to the embassy website. That doesn’t include family members, so the number of U.S. citizens living in embassy housing is probably much higher. While Putin has consistently suggested to the global media that this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion, these actions by the US State Department speak volumes.

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