MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man pleaded guilty Thursday to pocketing donations to a bogus charity he advertised for military members.
Christopher T. Engle, 30, of Bunker Hill, entered the plea in federal court to one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell said in a news release.
Engle co-owned Hearts2Heros, which solicited contributions to create and send care packages to deployed service members, the statement said.
Instead, Engle admitted he took donations from people in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia for personal use. The statement said the total loss from the scheme was nearly $287,000.
“Using our brave military personnel who are deployed overseas as a prop for a fraud scheme is deplorable conduct,” Powell said. “Such conduct also is detrimental to the work of many wonderful community organizations who genuinely support our military.”
Engle faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing.
On Wednesday, a federal prosecutor in Charleston announced that a Huntington woman has been charged with scamming millions of dollars from senior citizens after gaining their trust through social media websites.