The federal district attorney in Philadelphia continues to file criminal charges against four people who allegedly trapped and abused four people with mental disabilities in a basement, while collecting their Social Security checks.
Three of the defendants were charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping and conspiracy charges last week. All four were already facing false imprisonment charges, according to an Associated Press article from October 28.
The four alleged captives were found in a Philadelphia basement October 15, weak and malnourished. The space, which they shared with thee dogs, was too short for anyone to stand up and reeked of urine. One of the individuals was chained.
Federal police believe the scheme could be connected to a number of related incidents, from Philadelphia to Norfolk, Va. to West Palm Beach, Fla. to Texas, as part of a massive Social Social fraud scheme.
So far, eight juveniles and four young adults have been taken into protective custody as part of the investigation. They are between ages 2 and 19.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before in a living person. It is just remarkable that she is alive,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told the Associated Press on October 18. “There is no penalty, and I repeat, no penalty that is too harsh for the people who did this.”