A man used his military service to swindle Marine families and donors out of thousands in a charity scheme.
John Shannon Simpson founded “Marines and Mickey” in May of 2014. The charity claimed that 100 percent of the collected funds would cover costs for military families to travel to boot camp graduations as well as trips to Disney.
An investigation started after Simpson befriended a Gold Star mother interested in helping with the charity. According to the release, her friends became suspicious and contacted the FBI.
Investigators discovered that Simpson falsely represented himself as a retired Marine with as much as 20 years of service. They said Simpson was actually a lower-level rank than he claimed, and that he was court-martialed for going AWOL.
FBI investigators found that less than 20 percent of the donations were actually used for charitable purposes. They say a majority of the money was simply pocketed for Simpson’s daily living expenses.
The charity was in operation from May 2014 through 2016, and it received approximately $481,000 in donations during that time period.
In April, Simpson pleaded guilty to wire fraud. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison in July of 2019.