Charges Dropped in “Weekend at Bernie’s” Case

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New York prosecutors dropped charges today against two men who had been charged with a number of offenses resulting from an attempt to cash a Social Security check in January.  The problem, as you may recall, was the body they brought along with them.

As the New York Times reported on January 9, James O’Hare and David Dalaia showed up at a check-cashing business with a check that belonged to Virgilio Cintron.  Apparently recognizing they might have some explaining to do, they took Mr. Cintron along with them, although to do so they had to put him in an office chair and wheel him down the street, since Mr. Cintron had recently died.  But the clerk, who knew Cintron from the neighborhood, asked where he was.  "He’s outside," O’Hare said, pointing.

Which, of course, he was, along with a small crowd that had gathered after seeing the odd procession.  A detective who happened to be eating lunch nearby noticed the crowd, which led to the arrest.  Ultimately, O’Hare and Daloia were charged with forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, attempted petit larceny, and improper disposal of a body.  Of those, I think only larceny makes any sense, unless a body can be a "forged instrument."

At the time, the medical examiner found no signs of foul play in Mr. Cintron’s death, and that conclusion was restated today by prosecutors, who also said the examiner could establish only that Cintron had died of natural causes sometime during the 24 hours prior to the check-cashing attempt.  Therefore, they could not disprove the defendants’ story, which, if I am reading this report correctly, was that Cintron was alive when they left home and must have died as he was being wheeled down the street.

Link: AP via