PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The attorneys handling a $1.1 billion settlement for victims in the deadly collapse of a Miami condo say the settlement fund is inundated with fraudulent victims.
A court filing written by Michael Goldberg, one of the attorneys in the case, identified 458 “presumptively fraudulent” claimants out of 740 claims. The Champlain Tower South Condominium collapsed on June 24, 2021. About 35 people were rescued during the incident and 98 people died in the collapse.
Those affected by the tower collapse can receive anywhere from $50,000 to more than $1 million depending on how the tragedy impacted them.
However, the nature of the suit has opened it up to scammers, who believe they can get money without having to prove that they have any connection to the tragedy, Goldberg wrote.
“It is believed that many of the Presumptively Fraudulent Claimants learned about the Settlement Fund and the concomitant claims process through a website … which provides unprincipled individuals with a list of “No-proof class actions” whereby they can obtain settlement funds without having to supply evidence in support of their claims.”
Goldberg said it is obvious that some of the claimants are lying because in some cases they claim to be inside a condo unit during the collapse that was completely destroyed and where no one survived. He also notes that many of them live in the western parts of the United States such as California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.
Goldberg asks that the judge in the case send notice to these claimants that they must physically come to court, present evidence that they should be compensated in the case and if they are found to have perjured themselves should face punishment for their actions. ‘
Local attorney Larry Perry is representing one of the condo owners in the case.
“It is despicable and outrageous that scamsters are attempting to prey on the victims of this tragedy. Fortunately, the Receiver and the Judge will deny these clearly fraudulent claims and we are recommending that those who present fraudulent claims are turned over to the Department of Insurance for prosecution,” Perry wrote. “The true victims of this tragedy do not need to have another moment’s delay in receiving civil justice, for any reason, and especially for people who have absolutely no possible claim. In my thirty years of practice, I have never seen anything like the coordinated effort to steal from widows and children. We will continue to protect those who rightly deserve justice and seek to punish those who are fraudulent.”