Bogus stimulus offer snags suspects

Police carThe federal stimulus project isn't going as far as offering free money for doing nothing, but some accused criminals must have thought they could get a free ride when undercover police told them to make their claims for some stimulus money.

Using the name of the fictitious "South Florida Stimulus Coalition," the Fort Lauderdale Police Department mailed letters to people wanted on warrants asking them to call an undercover phone line and make appointments to claim their money, according to a Reuters story.

The promise of economic stimulus checks was enough to lure 76 people to their arrests on a variety of charges, ranging from second-degree murder to gun possession, drug charges and failure to pay child support.The sting was called "Operation Show Me the Money," and it didn't show the suspects a dime.

When they showed up at an auditorium and identified themselves, they were led to an area where uniformed officers were waiting to arrest them.

The operation ended Thursday night. Police Sgt. Frank Sousa told Reuters that police didn't have to offer much money to get the wanted people out into the open.

"They were not large dollar amounts," Sousa said. "No one was promised thousands of dollars."

Luckily for Florida law enforcement, it doesn't take much to catch a thief.
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