- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - Two New Jersey men were sentenced Friday for running a 9/11 scam that collected thousands of dollars from T-shirt sales but gave nothing to victims’ families as promised.

A state Superior Court Judge ordered 67-year-old Mark Niemczyk of Tinton Falls to serve five years of probation and sentenced 42-year-old Thomas Scalgione of Manahawkin to six months in the county jail for violating parole and one year of probation.

The men pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft by deception.

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The state had sought a jail term of up to one year for Niemczyk, but state Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney imposed a non-custodial sentence, citing Niemczyk’s health issues.

According to the state attorney general’s office, Niemczyk bought a Ford-150 pickup truck and had it painted with pictures of the World Trade Center towers, the logos of the New York police and fire departments and the names of first responders who perished. They brought the truck to 9/11 events and sold T-shirts and collected donations, ostensibly to be given to victims’ families.

Instead, the proceeds were deposited into Niemczyk’s personal bank accounts and used to pay personal expenses.

The men also falsely claimed they ran an established charity or were affiliated with a registered charity.

As a condition of probation, the men must pay more than $120,000 in fines and investigative costs.

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