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New Jersey men pretend to be Navy SEALs, run bogus 9/11 charity

New Jersey has sued two state residents, claiming they collected tens of thousands of dollars in donations for a bogus 9/11 charity.

In the lawsuit filed Monday in Superior Court, the New Jersey Attorney General's Office claims 66-year-old Mark Niemczyk of Tinton Falls, N.J. and 40-year-old Thomas Scalgione of Manahawkin, N.J. used the money they raised for their own personal gain. It also alleges that the pair — who both have criminal records — failed to register the charity as required by state law.

See the original story on NBCNewYork.com.

The two men have driven throughout the state in a pickup truck painted with the names of first responders who died in the terrorist attacks. Niemczyk claimed to be an ex-Navy SEAL while he solicited donations.

When NBC 4 New York inadvertently stopped Niemczyk without recognizing him at his apartment complex in Tinton Falls Monday, Niemczyk spoke about himself in the third person.

"Whatever money I know he collects goes out," he said.

New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa called Niemczyk's act "really reprehensible behavior, preying on the memories of the heroes who responded to the 9/11  tragedy."

Niemczyk's bogus operation was revealed over a year ago in a YouTube video posted by a real ex-SEAL, Don Shipley.

Chiesa is asking the court to impound the truck and order an end to the solicitations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBCNewYork.com is operated by WNBC, NBC News' station in New York City.

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