An ex-Marine -who was drummed out of the USMC, but claimed to be a retired Marine master sergeant while running a bogus charity- plead guilty to wire fraud in federal court on Monday.
John Shannon Simpson stole more than five grand from seven Marines and $481,000 from others through his “charity” known as Marines and Mickey, which promised to send Marine families to Disney World.
According to the Department of Justice, Simpson -posing as a retired Marine master sergeant who served as a Recon Marine- received the money by “misleading donors and volunteers about his military background, Simpson was able to add credibility to his solicitations for money.”
“The charity was in operation from May 2014 through 2016, and it received approximately $481,000 in donations during that time period,” the DOJ wrote in a release. “However, despite Simpson’s claims that 100% of the donations would go to Marines and their families through the charity’s programs, only about $90,000 -or about 19% of the donations- were used for charitable purposes. Simpson diverted the remainder of the monies in the charitable accounts, approximately $391,000, for his personal use and enrichment.”
Far from a retired master sergeant he claimed to be, Simpson spent less than five year in the USMC, joining in 1993 as a Basic Disbursing Clerk. From 1996 to 1997, Simpson went AWOL and following a Special Court Martial, he was given a Bad-Conduct Discharge in 1998.
The DOJ went on to describe how Simpson fooled young Marines into letting him automatically withdraw money from their checking accounts.
“Simpson made unauthorized withdrawals from the bank accounts of at least seven active-duty Marines who had recently graduated from boot camp,” the statement said. “Simpson convinced them to allow him to make recurring withdrawals from their accounts in nominal amounts to support the charity. Instead, he used their debit card numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts in a combined total amount of more than $5,000.”
Simpson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and/or a fine of $250,000.
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