Photo: Courtesy of New Jersey Attorney General’s Office
Two ex-convicts exploited the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks to steal tens of thousands dollars in donations, according to a civil lawsuit filed by New Jersey’s attorney general.Mark Anthony Niemczyk and Thomas Scalgione used a pickup truck with the names of fallen 9/11 first responders inscribed on it to collect money for a bogus charity for victims’ families, New Jersey’s AG Jeffrey S. Chiesa said in a statement Monday.
“It is beyond comprehension that anyone would try to profit themselves under the guise of collection donations to help the surviving family members,” Chiesa said in a statement.
Niemczyk and Scalgione traveled around the U.S. with the truck starting in 2010, showing up at different 9/11 memorial programs, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
The truck reportedly featured questionable slogans such as “Everything I learned about Islam I learned on 9/11.”
But one person was reportedly suspicious of Niemczyk’s cause.
“This joker, Mark Anthony, showed up at my event. He comes in a red pickup truck with flashing lights and all the firefighter names on it. Claims he is a Navy SEAL,” retired FDNY Lt. Joe Torillo told the Post. “He was too cocky. I knew it wasn’t right.”
The two claimed some of the money collected would go to a “Cain Foundation,” in memory of the firefighter George Cain who died on 9/11, the New Jersey AG stated. But the charity doesn’t exist, Chiesa said.
Niemczyk admitted to lying about being a Navy Seal, but the two claim the charity was real, according to the Post.
“We didn’t run no fake charity,” Niemczyk told the Post. “One guy said we did, and now they are investigating it. It’s just getting so blown out of proportion.”
In addition to the civil complaint, the two alleged fraudsters could face criminal charges, the state AG said.
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