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Manahawkin Man Sued For Allegedly Operating Bogus 9/11 Charity

Tinton Falls man also sued for his part in alleged scheme

Two convicted felons, including a Manahawkin man, defrauded the public by falsely soliciting donations for surviving family members of Sept. 11 victims, according to a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General's Office.

The two men were accused of driving around in a pickup truck painted with the names of first responders who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

Thomas J. Scalgione, 40, of Manahawkin and Mark Anthony Niemczyk, 66, of Tinton Falls have been sued for allegedly operating an unregistered charity, according to a release from the attorney general's office.

The attorney general's office has requested that the court order the immediate impounding of Niemczyk's pickup truck to stop soliciting donations from the public, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said in a release.

“The alleged actions of the defendants is an affront to everyone who remembers the fallen and to the family members who continue to endure pain from the lives that were lost among the first responders at the World Trade Center,” Attorney General Chiesa said. “It is beyond comprehension that anyone would try to profit themselves under the guise of collecting donations to help the surviving family members of the fallen emergency responders.”

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.

Scalgione allegedly claims to handle public relations for truck appearances and has several criminal convictions, including theft, forgery, fraudulent use of credit cards and possession of an emergency communications receiver during the commission of a crime, according to the release.

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 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.

A former New York City police officer filed a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs in May, 2012, after seeing Niemczyk’s pickup truck at a World Trade Center memorial service in Barnegat.

"After doing some research, she had concerns about whether Niemczyk and Scalgione were operating a legitimate charitable organization," the release states.

The attorney general’s 3-count complaint was filed in State Superior Court in Ocean County and contends that Niemczyk and Scalgione committed multiple violations of the State’s Charities Registration and Investigation Act.

A review of financial records revealed that donated funds were commingled in Niemczyk’s personal bank account and that none of the organizations the defendants claimed to have sent donations to had any records or memory of receiving donations from the defendants.

"The defendants allegedly raised tens of thousands of dollars through public donations and the case has been referred for possible criminal prosecution in addition to the filed civil complaint," the release states.

The Cain Foundation, one charity the defendants claimed to support, does not exist, according to the release. Rosemary Cain, whose firefighter son died on 9-11, was never contacted by Niemczyk or Scalgione and has no connection to them.

The court hearing on the attorney general’s request to impound the truck and to stop the defendants from soliciting donations is scheduled for Friday, August 3, at 10 a.m.

Deputy Attorney General Anna M. Lascurain of the Charities Regulation and Investigation Section within the Division of Law is representing the State in the case, according to the release. Chief Investigator Lawrence J. Biondo and Investigators Raquel L. Williams and Patrick Mullan in the Division of Consumer Affairs' Office of Consumer Protection, Charities Enforcement Unit, conducted the investigation.

The attorney general's office is asking people who believe they may have been defrauded by Niemczyk or Scalgione to file complaints with the Division of Consumer Affairs. A complaint form is available online at http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov  and complaints may be registered by calling the Division at 800-242-5846 or at 973-504-6200.

Anita Break July 30, 2012 at 07:56 PM
How low some people go. SCUM!
Barnegat tax Payer July 30, 2012 at 10:11 PM
seems to be happening alot, some people in barneget are even claiming their illness on 911 .you know who you are !
F.Lee July 31, 2012 at 01:40 AM
This truck was used to transport the steel to Barnegat High School. The pictures were in the Patch dated August 10, 2011. Thats disgraceful.
JOHNNY Done it July 31, 2012 at 01:54 AM
What a piece of garbage ..impound his truck put it up for bid & donate the money to the real Fund .
Bill Cox July 31, 2012 at 01:57 AM
In today's world if you attempt to portray yourself as something that you are not, you better be ready to get caught. This is the perfect example, two fakes and scam artists, who tried to GET OVER on the public. To me that is SHAMEFUL conduct. To profit from it is not only shameful it is CRIMINAL.
proud July 31, 2012 at 02:30 AM
No doubt Obama supporters
Nancy Newsome July 31, 2012 at 03:47 AM
As of today, 1,343 1st responder/recovery workers have died from 9/11 related illnesses. The money these frauds made could have saved dozens of lives. They should both be sent to prison and make restitution for the money they fraudulently made, and have it donated to a reputable 9/11 charity!
antonio movado July 31, 2012 at 04:44 AM
leave it to {proud} to take a subject like 9/11 fraud and use it for his racist agenda. proud i thought you said the klan meetings go until 11 pm why are you home so early?
proud July 31, 2012 at 08:37 AM
I hate to burst your bubble tonio, but among the many things you are wrong about is my gender.
F.Lee July 31, 2012 at 08:48 AM
Will there be a special meeting of the Barnegat 9/11 Heroes Club. Do they have a statement on this matter? These guys were seen throughout the local area and at many civic functions.
Capt Jacobsen Mey July 31, 2012 at 01:37 PM
The Court should not only impound the truck, but should take it to the local junk yard and crush it. Known FELONS using that truck to haul a sacred piece of the WTC to Barnegat is a complete disgrace and it's disgusting that these fools would even try and profit from the deaths of so many innocent people from that horrid day. Plus, how many 9/11 public events have these FELONS attended trying to solicit money from the unknowing public for their personal gains? They were not only collecting "donations", but also deliberately selling items with 9/11 association to rake in more money for their fake charity. The Cain family should sue both of them for trying to use their son's misfortune for personal profit and defamation due to trying to create a fake foundation using their family's namesake. The court should also immediately lock down any known accounts these two FELONS have opened, before they try and drain the funds or move them to someone else. The court should also make them forfeit any asset that was gained or paid from the funds they had improperly gained from their deceitful tactics. If there are businesses (public and private) doing business with these FELONS, they should cease their relations immediately.
Frank Karol July 31, 2012 at 01:42 PM
These guys should receive stiff penalties for this dishonest act, and same for any other persons with acts of this nature.
RICHARD E PORSCH July 31, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I really can't tell you what they deserve because it would not be a very pleasant ordeal, to say the least. And I'd do it with a clear conscience and absolutely free of any financial restitution. But, they also need all of us to say some Prayers for them for the "Holding Cell" is a free shot! RICHARD E PORSCH, Manahawkin
Rich Buzzeo July 31, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Hey "antonio " why is it racist. to mention that mutts name do we have to kneel when we say his name?
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
It's probably more racist to call him a mutt and insinuate that people feel they owe him some type of greeting befitting royalty. Proud is alleging that this person is an Obama supporter because he most likely believes that most criminals are supporters of the President and/or people who do support the President are not up to his lofty ethical/moral/judgmental standards. It's not overtly racist on it's own, but it certainly moves the needle. You sound like you camp with proud Rich, hope that works out for you both.
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 05:52 PM
You're mis-informed and under-educated proud. I feel bad for you. It's unfortunate that you get to see the world through such a narrow view.
proud July 31, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Fred Sr, it is with great relief that you disagree with me. As for being educated, I'll compare resumes with you any time that you please.
proud July 31, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Well Fed Sr, you know what they say when you assume. For the record, I do get the distinct impression that yourself and tonio/ enough is enough deserve one another. Birds of a feather as it were.
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I wasn't really assuming anything proud, not exactly sure where you got that impression. Mine was more of a socially-educated observation, derived from the tendencies of individuals who comment, such as you have, in the manner above. I'd say there's more than a fair chance I'm dead-on accurate.
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Well being that your comment was completely unrelated to the article, I wasn't actually disagreeing as much as I was commenting on your obtuse political angling and feeble attempt at a FOX-News-esque spin to an otherwise unpatriotic offense. Your point, while somewhat aggressive and vindictive, isn't something to be agreed upon or not, it's more of a "What the heck are you even talking about?" stance, no?
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 07:12 PM
You're right. People who use common sense, don't just believe what they're told and follow the pitchfork carrying massive all the way to their high-paying jobs, all the while chanting God Save the Queen should stick together. Let's for the sake of argument call them...maybe...Americans. Thanks.
proud July 31, 2012 at 07:25 PM
No.
proud July 31, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Fred Sr. when you say I most likely believe something, you are making an assumption. Wrong, but an assumption, nonetheless. Obviously, your skewed mindset has evolved from spending too many hours watching Matthews or O'donnell, the fair and balanced gents. Sorry, but you're dead wrong again.
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Well if that's the case then provide an alternative argument to what I propose. Why the comment "No doubt Obama supporters"? I can honestly say I don't spend any time at all watching Mr. Matthews. Not sure you're referring to with O'Donnell but I believe to so-called "fair-and-balanced" is anything but. Again, I've dealt with individuals such as yourself many times, and trust me, it ain't no ass-umption.
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I guess it's obvious to most, but for your sake proud, that's what's called a rhetorical question. Everyone knows the answer already, it's just meant to make you think...unsuccessfully it seems. I still haven't read any real sensible justification for your comment however.
proud July 31, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Fred Sr, I have no intention of arguing with you or responding to your assumptions or mud slinging. That type of thing is best left to yourself, tonio and your ilk. If I were to do so, the visitors would be unable to discern who is whom, and I prefer to sleep in a clean bed.
Fred Jones, Sr. July 31, 2012 at 09:12 PM
There wasn't any mud-slinging, and I'm not sure why you lump me in with other posters but ok proud. It must be nice to just go around making ridiculous comments, then never back them up with any effective or justifiable reason when questioned. What was I thinking? Who asks a person why they say things...outrageous. Your assumption was what started this discussion, remember that pal.
Felicia Massari July 31, 2012 at 09:27 PM
The term here used is "allegedly". All things must play out in court. Even with histories of wrongdoing, to judge now is presumptuous. This is so volatile a subject because of the very nature of what happened eleven years ago...to think individuals or groups could prey on our need to support the 9/11 victims' families...it does inflame us. I hope that the the truth, whatever it is, is so evident that there will be no more need for speculation, and that all can be at peace with the court's decision(s).
julieanne willitts August 05, 2012 at 10:32 PM
scum is even to good of a word to describe them! PLAIN & SIMPLE SCAM ARTIST! THEY USED EVERYONE THEY CAME INTO CONTACT WITH & PULLED ON OUR HEART STRINGS KNOWING THAT THE ONE THING PPL IN THIS NATION WILL DO IS TO HELP THE FAMILIES & FRIENDS THAT LOST SOMEONE ON THAT HORRIFIC DAY! PATHETIC AND I DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR THEM OR THEIR FAMILIES CAUSE THEY HAD TO HAVE KNOWN WHAT THEY WERE DOING AS WELL! MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILIES OF 9/11

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