Pair Behind 9/11 Charity May Be Crooks, Not Former Navy SEALs

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Niemczyk. Photo: YouTube

The "N-SEAL" vanity plate was a hint. 

New Jersey's Attorney General's office sued two men on Monday for defrauding the public by raising tens of thousands of dollars for an unregistered 9/11 charity, donations that they allegedly used as a personal slush fund. The pair — 66-year-old Mark Niemczyk and 40-year-old Thomas Scalgione — drove around the state in a truck emblazoned with the names of 9/11 first responders who died in the World Trade Center attacks, reports NBC New York. According to New Jersey 101.5, Niemczyk allegedly presented himself as a former Navy SEAL when he solicited donations in the truck with the misleading plates.

Both of the accused previously dabbled in crimes of dishonesty: Niemczyk pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in 1989, while Scalgione has been convicted of theft, forgery, and fraudulent use of credit cards, according to the Attorney General's office.

Scaglione has denied the allegations, saying that he and Niemczyk operate "a legitimate group" and will fight to clear their names. When NBC New York confronted Niemczyk about the charges (unaware that they were speaking with him at the time), Niemczyk spoke of himself in the third person, saying  "Whatever money I know he collects goes out."