Disgraced New York attorney Gustavo Vila reportedly stole close to $1 million from a cancer-stricken cop who was awarded the cash from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
A New York state lawyer reportedly stole close to $1 million from a cancer-stricken cop who was awarded the cash from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The unnamed officer contracted cancer working with the NYPD on the Ground Zero rescue and recovery operation following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
In 2013, the ailing officer hired Westchester attorney Gustavo Vila, 62, to represent him and the pair filed a claim with the Compensation Fund.
Vila signed documents authorizing the fund to place any payments into his own bank account.
In 2015, Vila was disbarred in 2015 for an unrelated offense, but continued to represent the officer.
The following year, the fund awarded $1,030,622 to the cop in order to cover treatment for his ‘serious, life-threatening medical conditions’ and released the funds into Vila’s account.
Vila reportedly forwarded on just $103,000 to the officer, saying that the rest of the money had not yet been sent through.
The unnamed officer contracted cancer working with the NYPD on the Ground Zero rescue and recovery operation following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center
According to The New York Daily News, the disgraced lawyer used some of the cop’s money to pay his own taxes.
The publication reports that some of the compensation cash was then transferred into an account belonging to Vila’s then-wife.
In February of this year – nearly four years after the police officer was supposed to have received the funds – he confronted Vila who allegedly admitted to stealing the money.
Vila was arrested last month and is now facing a charge of theft of government funds.
He was released on $100,000 bail, and is expected to return to court at a later date.
If convicted, Vila faces up to 10 years behind bars.
Kenneth Dieffenbach, a special-agent-in-charge in the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, released a statement on Thursday regarding the case, which read: ‘Vila allegedly attempted to profit off of the suffering of a retired NYPD officer who risked his life at Ground Zero.
‘Because of Vila’s alleged greed, the victim never received about $1 million he was awarded from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund’.
The officer was one of many who contracted cancer due to their exposure to toxic dust and chemicals floating around at Ground Zero