Cameron Korth has gone on quite a journey. In 2012, Utah's branch of the American Red Cross named him a "Youth Good Samaritan Hero" for his efforts on behalf of a child he'd connected with through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. But five years later, the now-twenty-year-old is facing federal charges for allegedly making a false bomb threat on a flight to Denver, adding to a criminal history he blamed in part on doing drugs with a stripper.
Of such things are Schmucks of the Week made.
In an American Red Cross video on view below, a teenage Korth describes his Make-a-Wish project, created to benefit a child who wanted to go to Disney World. It involved a display of holiday lights accompanied by music that could be heard through speakers at his house or on nearby car radios via a small transmitter.
He hoped to raise $200 but actually collected $2,000, Korth says in the video. He adds that his efforts were rewarded when he saw the smile on the child's face as he and his family danced to the music amid flashing and twinkling lights.
"To see what he's been going through, and I think I have a tough life, there's really no comparison," he said. "I have it real easy. He has it hard."
Things got tougher for Korth after that.
When he was eighteen, for example, he was arrested in Davis County, Utah, on charges that included driving on a suspended or revoked license and possession or use of a controlled substance.
The result was this memorable booking photo.
Still, these offenses pale in comparison to the one he's facing now over his alleged actions on a United Airlines flight from San Diego to Denver.
On January 16, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Korth told a flight attendant that he'd spotted a threatening note inside the toilet-seat-cover dispenser in one of the aircraft's bathrooms. An affidavit obtained by 7News says the missive read, "THERE IS BOMBS (sic) ON UA 231 DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LAND."
The decision was made to touch down at Denver International Airport anyhow, but the plane taxied to an isolated runway where passengers were evacuated on buses driven to the area for the occasion. Afterward, the Denver Police Department deployed bomb-sniffing dogs to check the plane for explosive devices, but none were found.
In the meantime, the U.S. Attorney's Office account continues, Korth was asked to write down his version of the events on the flight, and investigators quickly noticed that his handwriting was similar to the scrawl on the original note. They subsequently concluded that Korth had found some paper in his seat, written the bomb threat and placed it in the dispenser before pretending to stumble upon it and alerting the crew member.
Why? The affidavit quotes Korth as claiming that he'd acted while in the midst of a panic attack. He maintained that he had "a number of medical issues for which he was taking prescribed medications" and confessed to having gotten crossways with the law before — trouble he linked to his relationship with the stripper he was dating and their shared fondness for illicit substances.
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The formal charge against Korth is maliciously conveying false information, and it's no joke. The maximum punishment for a conviction is ten years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
He'll need one helluva light display to cover that amount.
Look below to see the aforementioned American Red Cross video.