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US basement case could be US hate crime

US basement case could be prosecuted under 2009 federal hate-crimes law By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) ' The case of the four disabled adults found locked in a Philadelphia basement may become one of the first prosecuted under a 2009 federal hate-crimes law.

The FBI is taking a broad look at the apparent Social Security fraud case, which already stretches from Texas to Florida to Pennsylvania.

An FBI official says the case could fall under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The act is named for two murder victims and expands earlier hate-crimes law to include a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is in the early stages.

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