Man admits stealing funds meant for military care packages

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.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.