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UPDATE: Judge Stops Alleged 9/11 Charity Scam Artists From Soliciting Donations

Judge says 9/11 truck can be 'seized;' Manahawkin and Tinton Falls men sued for their part in alleged scheme

A judge has stopped two men who allegedly ran a bogus 9/11 charity in Ocean and Monmouth counties — and throughout the state — from soliciting more donations.

State Superior Court Judge Vincent Grasso issued an injunction Friday halting Thomas J. Scalgione, 40, of Manahawkin and Mark Anthony Niemczyk, 66, of Tinton Falls from raising funds that were supposed to aid 9/11 victims' families.

Grasso also authorized the seizure of any evidence relating to the investigation, including authorizing the impoundment of a truck that transported a tower piece recovered from the wreckage of Ground Zero to Barnegat last year.

In a statement to the court this morning, The Division of Consumer Affairs' Deputy Attorney General Anna M. Lascurain accused Scalgione and Niemczyk of promoting the bogus 9/11 victims' charity by driving around in the pickup truck, which was painted with the names of first responders who perished.

She said that Consumer Affairs requires that registered charities file paperwork and have a degree of "transparency and openness" in their record-keeping, which, she said, was not followed in this instance. "They used a national tragedy and are profiting from that tragedy," she said.

Scalgione and Niemczyk appeared in court Friday, representing themselves. Niemczyk said he couldn't afford legal representation; adding "I would like to have [a lawyer]."

Grasso noted that since this is a civil proceeding, "I don't know that you'd qualify," to have court-appointed representation. He advised the pair that some attorneys would at least consult with them for free.  

Scalgione claimed he filled out some paperwork to register the charity, and has provided proof, in the form of cancelled checks, to the Consumer Affairs office that some of the funds were distributed to families of 911 victims.

Lascurain noted that in the registration paperwork that was filed, both men failed to disclose the facts that Niemczyk pleaded guilty in 1989 to committing welfare fraud and Scalgione had been convicted on seven counts of criminal acts, including: criminal sex acts; credit card fraud; forgery; and computer related theft.

Grasso froze the charity's assets and permitted the seizure of all documents and materials connected to the charity, including the truck.

Both Scalgione and Niemczyk helped contribute a piece of World Trade Center steel for a monument at Barnegat High School. Through the efforts of resident and Patch blogger Charles Giles and others, the 9-foot steel beam was gifted to the Barnegat Township School district in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Giles has told Patch he contacted Scalgione to book the truck to pick up a piece of steel from one of the towers and bring it to Barnegat High School for a memorial held there last year, but declined to elaborate further.

Both Scalgione and Niemczyk drove the red pickup truck, which bore the names of first responders who perished in the attacks. Lascurain noted that the truck is currently located at a dealership in Ocean Township where it was being serviced.

A person who answered the phone at the dealership, whom declined to be identified, said that they had been in touch with the Attorney General's Office, but were waiting to hear about the jduge's order before commenting.

According to Patch and MSN file photos of the truck, it bore different logos and license plates at different time periods.

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 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.

The  Attorney General's Office 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.

A number of Barnegat Township residents attended the hearing, including Bill Cox, transportation coordinator for the Barnegat Township School District.

Cox, a former New York City police officer, has raised questions about the operation since seeing Niemczyk’s pickup truck at a World Trade Center memorial service in Barnegat.

"I am very happy with the result today," Cox said.

makemyday August 04, 2012 at 12:25 AM
How do these scumbags sleep at night? To make money off the backs of all 9/11 innocent victims is dispicable! Then to claim he's a Navy Seal falsely is a smack to REAL Heros that serve our country every day. Put them both in the slammer and throw the keys away
Concetta Giovanni August 04, 2012 at 01:05 AM
I totally agree with you.
Matthew Skalski August 04, 2012 at 11:21 AM
My cousin is a Navy Seal, it is not something that he discusses with anyone.
john August 04, 2012 at 11:47 AM
one word..............LOSERS...........
Smot Revir August 04, 2012 at 11:52 AM
@ GBA>>>What ?
B August 04, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I NEVER, ever EVER give money to some one just sitting around w/ a jug or bucket, even the Salvation Army. I never know where the money is going and now this confirms it.
God Bless America August 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM
@ Smot Revir - The story above is an "UPDATE" as stated. The original Patch story (that I commented on) had the Giles quote I mentioned. The Patch removed this quote from the updated story. Good for the Patch for listening to the comments that are made, and reporting a story based on facts from reliable sources.
grace August 04, 2012 at 10:23 PM
hope the beam was real
grace August 04, 2012 at 10:24 PM
omg what is wrong with people? this stuff brings tears to my eyes
J.JONES August 04, 2012 at 11:49 PM
its sad about these scams that you have to be concern when you see someone collecting for any charity's ..AND thats sad because the real one's suffer for people being scared..These guys should be buried ..and I hope they pay back for what they stole ...
Chuck Clayton August 05, 2012 at 01:43 AM
These two scumbags will never pay back a dime .they need too rot in jail especially the phony seal.hes been telling people he was a seal for 25 years.he can't even lie rite he said he graduated from the naval academy in 1953,and he is66 means he was 8 when he graduated nice try jo
Susan McDermott August 05, 2012 at 02:13 AM
There is so much more to this story, I look forward to the full reveal. Huge kudos to Bill Cox, Corinna Cox, TJ Gilmartin (among others) for your untiring efforts to expose the truth. I'm so glad to have met you & honored to help in any way I can.
Susan McDermott August 05, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Amen to that!
Berkeley Lifer August 05, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Dump both these scumbags on the border of Pakistan and Afghansitan and let nature run it's course!
Matthew Lightbody Sr. August 05, 2012 at 04:16 AM
and the plot thickens because the proof he had was a letter from a friend he was there... and the boss confirmed he called giles who was dispatch from his home not on the road while he was working... He just came back from vacation... Now seen the article of miracle at christmas for 911 victims and the first person making statements I wonder who the friend was... It is funny in an article he even states he just came back from vacation and was called to work... I wonder can one keep up his lies...
Matthew Lightbody Sr. August 05, 2012 at 04:19 AM
now look at the ocean county court records and it shows he sold his home making a $40,000 profit and all these donations how is one in such need of more money? I am not done yet because i have more information i am going through.. and it gets better all the time... and some of the you tube interviews and paper work was deleted... I WONDER WHY.... CAN YOU GUESS? i HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS AND I FINED MORE AND MORE.... OH BOY MR.X ARE YOU READY TO TELL THE TRUTH????
F.Lee August 05, 2012 at 06:50 AM
I would ask that all those affected by the 9/11 attacks please post this and other articles about this case on any of your Social Media pages.. This will get the word out so perhaps if something like this is occurring elsewhere it may enlighten people to some peoples definition of charity. Also if they wish invite them to post comments on this thread or others. Let the people who have been involved in these scams know they although people may not physically be able to attend a trial, they have a voice which they can use by way of the computer.
T.j. Gilmartin August 05, 2012 at 10:38 AM
And Matt Lightbody , I tip my hat to you !
Mac August 05, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Wow! Are you saying that Mr. Dasti, the attorney for the Barnegat Township Committee who represents the law firm of Senator Connors of the 9th District, was involved with Mr. Giles during the time Mr. Giles was selling his home for a $40,000 profit and publicly accepting donations from Barnegat residents and organizations?
Denise S August 05, 2012 at 02:14 PM
My husband is a 9/11 survivor...my cousins and uncles all part of the rescues and friends that were lost that day....this is not excusable. The only reason I ever bought shirts & made donations was because the sceme was so believable at first....it began to become clear some time ago that something was sketchy & not right
Matthew Lightbody Sr. August 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Sue your welcome but my name is Matt and as you see they are my findings used by others... Just say.. No big deal..
Matthew Lightbody Sr. August 06, 2012 at 01:15 AM
I have so much more to reveal as for I have been doing this for years. I tried to get it out there but it is against patch rules. I have an agreement with Mr. Davis to keep it to the rules of the patch and I will respect our agreement. I have uncovered more information that will shock other and If you are interested please contact me via facebook message or e-mail me at therevenger1140@aim.com. And I will do my best to get it to you all. Thank you Mr. Davis
Mark Story Jenks August 06, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Some people will stoop real, real low in order to make a fast buck. It might be a good idea to let the people from CBS's "60 Minutes" or some other investigative program, to take a look at these two shady characters.
Matthew Lightbody Sr. August 06, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Mark I went to help me howard and 60 minutes and all the stations these men did interviews with years ago to present about the scam and they thought I was picking on true heroes. I wrote the post and app and made comments on here only to be fallen on deaf ears. People can tell you I have been commenting on a certain person on here and looked up the criminal records of the ones caught and brought it to the attention of these people and still nothing. it was like I was making it up. I went over and over every you tube interview and paper article and saw and read different stories of the event told everytime taking notes and now I found other sites that do the same. I went to the NY post Sue edlemen I think that's how you spell it and called the NY mayors office when the mayor that was there during 9/11 to present.. NY justice office and was told to call 311 to get nowhere. This could have been stopped sooner if only they would have listen to me then and now. You see action was taken but not given.
Mark Story Jenks August 06, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Matt, I'd like to help you with this if it's not too late. I never bought a shirt from them, or made any donations to them. But I wonder how many people did?
CentralNJMen August 06, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Tommy S is a well known scam artist in central NJ in the 90's and was banned from social groups were he preyed on older men who he gained their confidence and then stole and defrauded them. He is a smooth talker and never worked a day in his life. At one time lived out of his car and drove around looking for older men who he asked to take him in. He was also in Philly as well doing the same thing. He has not changed in all these years and clearly his performance in court was one of total denial which is his normal behavior when caught. He has lived in Manahawkin as this is where his parents reside, but he has also resided in Howell in the past. He does computer fraud as well, but his primary MO is to use and defraud older men. I do think that Tommy used this older man to carry out his fraud and this man trusted him and gave him control over the money. Tommy was smart and the bank accounts were NOT in his name. His partner was a simpleton as I could see on the Channel 2 interview and Tommy took advantage of this.
barbara August 06, 2012 at 09:08 PM
good for you matt, just so sad you were ignored......wonder what their next scam will be? at least our tried. shame on them for not following up.
Matthew Lightbody Sr. August 07, 2012 at 01:57 PM
mark you can call me or e-mail me I am not at liberty to discuss somethings on here do to and agreement with Tom Davis and I want to honor that.. The last time I did this I was banded from commenting and I want to keep my rights.. My cell is 609-713-3665 or e-mail therevenger1140@aim.com. Thank you ...
Matthew Lightbody Sr. August 11, 2012 at 12:53 AM
These New Jersey scumbags came from up north to hide in the pines thinking that we would not look into thier backround. Now where do you think these politicians came from in Ocean County and now I can say the one's that vote for them are brain dead!!!
Theresa Brown November 27, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Two front row spots in the down under.

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