Manahawkin Man Who Allegedly Ran Bogus 9/11 Charity Has Long Criminal Record
Manahawkin and Tinton Falls men sued for their part in alleged scheme
The Manahawkin man accused this week of promoting a bogus 9/11 victims' charity has a long criminal history involving convictions on sex and theft offenses.
Thomas J. Scalgione, 40, of Manahawkin has been convicted on seven counts of criminal acts, including: criminal sex acts; credit card fraud; forgery; and computer related theft, according to the state Department of Corrections.
Scalgione and Mark Anthony Niemczyk, 66, of Tinton Falls were accused this week of promoting the charity by driving around in a pickup truck painted with the names of first responders who perished.
The same truck transported a tower piece recovered from the wreckage of Ground Zero to Barnegat last year to serve as a memorial for those who died.
The Attorney General's Office has sued Scalgione and Niemczyk for allegedly operating an unregistered charity. Their first court appearance is scheduled for the Ocean County Courthouse at 10 a.m. Friday.
Both Scalgione and Niemczyk drove the red pickup truck, which bore the names of first responders who perished in the attacks, but the state has since impounded it. According to Patch and MSN file photos of the truck, it bore different logos and license plates at different time periods.
Scalgione allegedly claimed to handle public relations for truck appearances, according to the Attorney General's Office. His work came five years after he was sentenced for a maxmimum of 180 days in prison on a theft conviction.
Before then, Scalgione:
- was sentenced for a maximum three-year term in 2006 on a credit-card fraud conviction;
- was sentenced for a maximum three-year term in 2006 on a forgery convictionl
- was sentenced for a maximum four-year term in 2004 on a sex offense conviction; and
- was sentenced for a maximum 60-day term in 2004 on a computer-related theft conviction.
According to the state DOC, Scalgione was in custody from April 16, 2004 to October 5, 2004 and April 10, 2006 to July 26, 2008.
Niemczyk allegedly lied to the people he solicited by telling them he was a former Navy SEAL and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and at one time had a license plate on the pickup truck reading “N-Seal”. Niemczyk pleaded guilty in 1989 to committing welfare fraud.
Niemczyk and Scalgione also allegedly have been selling T-shirts with New York City Police and Fire Department and Port Authority Police Department logos at 9/11 memorial events since mid-2011 to raise funds for their charity.
A state Attorney General's Office release states that both were not authorized to use the logos and that they allegedly also had a collection jug for cash donations when they attended events with the truck.