Fraudulent 9-11 hero may be a bigamist
LAS VEGAS — Authorities know Daniel McCarthy’s claim of being a heroic New York police officer buried alive Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center was bogus. Now they want to know whether he’s a bigamist.
McCarthy, 38, a high-rolling gambler from Brooklyn, made his now-debunked claims July 18 as he married a 45-year-old Brooklyn divorcee at a wedding chapel in a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino.
Authorities are comparing two sets of marriage documents to see whether he’s the same man who married a 21-year-old Staten Island, N.Y., woman a week later in Las Vegas.
The documents being checked in Las Vegas by Clark County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre include a Douglas County marriage license application for a Tahoe wedding to Eleni Golding, and a Clark County application for a marriage Thursday to Lucia Castelli in Las Vegas.
The women’s signatures on the documents appear to be different. The Daniel McCarthy signatures on both documents appear identical.
Parraguirre said Friday she didn’t know what the next step would be if it’s confirmed that McCarthy got married twice. In Nevada, a second marriage while a first marriage is still valid is considered felony bigamy, punishable by prison terms of up to four years.
At the Gardenia wedding chapel, in the Rio hotel-casino in Las Vegas, chapel guide Robin Stockwell said Friday that six guests were in attendance at the McCarthy-Castelli wedding but she didn’t hear McCarthy say anything about his background.
That wasn’t the case at Tahoe, where the minister at a chapel in Harvey’s Resort Casino was told by the groom that he was a New York police officer who tried to rescue World Trade Center office workers but was blown out of the ninth floor of and buried in rubble for 79 hours.
The Tribune Daily Tribune, alerted by the minister, ran a story in which McCarthy described surviving with a vision of his dead grandmother urging him to hang on and await help.
The account was later dismissed as fiction by the New York Police Department, and the Tribune ran a follow-up story on Wednesday calling McCarthy “a fraud.”
Repeated phone calls to McCarthy’s cell phone number have been unanswered. An aquaintance of McCarthy in Las Vegas told the Tahoe Daily Tribune Friday that McCarthy told him the same bogus story about being a hero back in April.
The McCarthy-Golding marriage license applications filed in Douglas County listed the maiden name of the groom’s mother as “Amato,” while the McCarthy-Castelli license application filed in Clark County listed that name as “Amaty.”
McCarthy’s birth dates are the same on both documents, but the last digit of the Social Security numbers differ: a “9” in Douglas County and a “6” in Clark County.
— Associated Press writer Brendan Riley contributed to this report.