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Disabled PA Man Locked in Basement, Robbed of Disability Checks

Posted on Sep 30, 2012

Yet another Social Security disability fraud case has hit the headlines. This time it involved a 63-year-old deaf and mute man who allegedly was held against his will in a Philadelphia basement, while an acquaintance collected and illegally cashed the man’s SSA disability checks.

According to a September 6, 2012, Washington Post report, William Richardson was allegedly kept in a dark, locked basement for months by his captor. Upon his rescue, Richardson told police that he was hungry and that he had been punched, beaten, and threatened for four months, the report noted. 

The suspect in the case, Dwayne Young, 56, was charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, forgery, and other crimes. His bail was set at $1 million.

Richardson’s family and friends had reported him missing to the police in April. Officers went to Young’s house at the time but did not find Richardson. On Sunday, after receiving another tip, the police returned to Young’s house with a search warrant and were able to rescue Richardson. 

Young, upon hearing that his house had been searched, showed up at the police station, where he was immediately arrested. It is thought that he abducted Richardson after giving the man a ride home from work.

The report presented the possibility that Young might have been motivated to hold Richardson against his will after hearing about the horrific discovery in November 2011 that four people allegedly had been keeping four mentally challenged adults locked in a Philadelphia basement boiler room in order to obtain their Social Security disability checks.

Police Captain Larry Nodiff said, “Your heart goes out to him…. [F]or the better part of four months, he (Richardson) was kept hostage for financial gain by this animal.”

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law