WEST PALM BEACH —A Palm Beach County judge Friday ordered a sentence of time served on credit-card theft charges for a man who’d also claimed, apparently falsely, that he was a former firefighter who’d had been at Ground Zero on 9/11.
Steven Shapiro pleaded guilty Friday to fraud, dealing in stolen property, grand theft and illegal use of credit cards. Judge Samantha Schosberg-Feuer sentenced him to 68 days time served, plus about $900 in court costs.
Shapiro, 56, had been booked April 16 on charges that he used credit cards he found in the Delray Beach home of Ilene Clark, a woman from whom he rented a room, to buy $1,823 worth of items, including a television.
“I don’t feel that (68) days of jail is appropriate,” Clark said later.
After the hearing, Clark could be seen outside court arguing with Assistant Palm Beach County State Attorney Amy Berkman. Berkman could be heard apologizing to Clark, who later told a reporter that prosecutors had not consulted with her before the sentencing. Clark said Berkman insisted her office had called.
Shapiro still has an out-of-county warrant for an unresolved DUI case in Central Florida, so it’s probable he will not be released right away. Jail records show he still was there Friday afternoon.
Palm Beach County Court records show Shapiro was arrested in 2005 and again in December 2010 for writing worthless checks of $800 and $5,000, respectively. Court officials said he pleaded guilty in the 2005 case and was sentenced to 12 months of probation. The 2010 charge was dropped. Shapiro also was involved in numerous court cases in Connecticut, Arizona, and California, according to jail records and databases.
Shapiro attended Friday’s hearing in a wheelchair.
According to a Delray Beach police report, when detectives tracked him to a Fort Lauderdale physical-rehabilitation center, Shapiro reportedly confessed and told them he’d mounted the TV on his bedroom wall.
“That’s probably how I blew out my disks,” he said.
Don Prince couldn’t attend Friday’s hearing but has been following the case.
Prince, who co-founded the Station House Retreat, a Delray Beach substance-abuse treatment center for first responders, told the Palm Beach Post in early May that Shapiro briefly had worked there and had told people he was a fire lieutenant in Connecticut and had gone to Manhattan and the site of the terrorist attacks.