9/11 Made Her Do It

Pamela Kaichen, 44, robbed six banks in New York and Connecticut over a 48 hour period in May of 2003. She pretended to have a gun during the robberies, and when she was arrested more than $42,000 was found in her apartment and car.

A judge sentenced her to just 4 years in jail — despite federal sentencing guidelines that call for 7 1/4 years for crimes similar to Kaichen’s. The judge bought Kaichen’s claim that she suffered from a mental condition that was worsened after she volunteered at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks and that she only stole the money in order to give it to 9/11 victims. During at least two of the robberies she told bank tellers that she had either lost a loved one or personally “went through” the 9/11 terrorist attack, both claims that were false.

In giving her a lenient sentence, U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns said,

It’s clear this defendant was acting under significant mental disabilities trigger by her horrendous experience at Ground Zero . . . When Ms. Kaichen saw the sheer magnitude of grief as a result of 9/11, she began to feel like a failure. It is not a stretch to say if it was not for what Ms. Kaichen experienced on 9/11, we would not be here today.


“I Went Through Sept. 11”. Associated Press, May 28, 2003.

9/11 experience drops ‘Blond Bandit’ sentence. Associated Press, February 3, 2004.

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