Yesterday, charges were brought against five so-called human beings who kept a group of disabled adults locked inside of a Philadelphia "dungeon" for as long as 11 years in a scam to collect their social security and disability checks. Over the course of the crime, two of the victims died.
In October 2011, they were discovered by the building's landlord. U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger described the scene as horrific:
"Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case where the victims were tied up and confined like zoo animals and treated like property akin to slaves," Memeger said in a statement.
Linda Weston is the alleged ringleader of the scam, and she reportedly found the victims in various ways. One was found on a corner near a mental health facility, and in a despicable turn, another was her niece. Each of the victims were severely malnourished, and the two fatalities were caused by bacterial meningitis and starvation.
The victims were said to have the mental capacities of 10-year-old children, and Memeger adds that many of them were also forced into prostitution. The scam produced a reported $212,000 over its duration. Each of the defendants face life in prison, and Weston could receive the death penalty.