The state of New Jersey is suing a pair of convicted felons for allegedly defrauding the public by soliciting donations to a fake 9/11 charity. The NJ Attorney General's office says that Mark Anthony Niemczyk and Thomas J. Scalgioneo "drove around New Jersey in a pickup truck painted with the names of first responders who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9-11 and solicited donations for surviving family members." But the "charity" was unregistered.

The two are accused of selling t-shirts with NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority Police Department logos at various 9/11 events since last year, claiming they were raising money for charity. Not only did they not have permission to use the logos, they accepted cash with a collections jug. This past May, an ex-NYPD cop filed a complaint when she saw the truck at a NJ 9/11 event in Barnegat: "After doing some research, she had concerns about whether Niemczyk and Scalgione were operating a legitimate charitable organization."

Further investigation revealed that donated moneys were mixed with Niemczyk's personal account and none of the charities they said they were affiliated with ever received money from them. Cliffview Pilot points out that the pair had a story that was convincing enough to fool "Members of New York's Rolling Thunder motorcycle were countless police, firefighters, military members and civilians" plus "Russell Newberry, former star of the Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch' " and Governor Christie, who posed with for a picture with Niemczyk.

Niemczyk apparently lied about being a graduate of the Naval Academy and having done three Vietnam tours as a Navy SEAL. He also pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in 1989. Scalgione, who said he handled PR for the truck's appearance, has 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 NJ AG's office.

AG Jeffrey Chiesa said, "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. 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."