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New Jersey fraudsters plead guilty of 9/11 charity fraud

Jan. 7, 2014 at 5:51 PM

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Two New Jersey men who used a truck painted with the Twin Towers to raise money for Sept. 11, 2001, victims pleaded guilty to fraud charges, prosecutors say.

Thomas Scalgione, 41, of Manahawkin and Mark Niemczyk, 67, of Tinton Falls both pleaded guilty Monday to single counts of third-degree theft by deception, acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman said.

Prosecutors said the two men drove a pickup painted with New York City's Twin Towers, which were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, to various memorial events where they hawked T-shirts and other commemorative merchandise under the pretense the money would go to charity -- though they never gave any of the proceeds away, the Press of Atlantic City, N.J., reported.

Prosecutors have requested Niemczyk be sentenced to 364 days in jail plus probation. Scalgione is already on probation for an unrelated offense and his guilty plea will result in jail time on that charge. Ocean County Superior Court Judge James Blaney may also order the men to pay up to $120,000 in restitution to donors, and in court fees.

They are scheduled to be sentenced March 7.

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