TRENTON, N.J. — Two New Jersey men who operated a bogus Sept. 11 charity by selling T-shirts with the logos of the New York City police and fire departments out of a custom-painted pickup truck at public events pleaded guilty on Monday to theft by deception, authorities said.
Stafford Township resident Thomas Scalgione and Tinton Falls resident Mark Niemczyk never gave any of the more than $50,000 in proceeds to the victims’ families or to charities as promised, acting state Attorney General John Hoffman said.
Prosecutors will recommend Niemczyk receive a county jail sentence of nearly a year and a probation term when he’s sentenced March 7. Scalgione’s plea deal calls for him to receive probation, but he could get a jail sentence for violating an unrelated probation term.
As a condition of probation, the men must comply with the terms of a civil consent judgment filed by the state’s Consumer Affairs Division. It calls for them to pay more than $120,000 in fines and investigative costs – which includes repaying the money they improperly received — and permanently bars them from working for any charitable organization in New Jersey.
“These con men shamelessly exploited the generosity of others, enriching themselves by diverting funds that were intended for the families of 9/11 victims,” Hoffman said. “These guilty pleas ensure that Niemczyk and Scalgione will carry criminal records for the rest of their lives that will bear witness to their greed and deviousness.”