NJ pair attempt to fraudulently solicit funds for veterans charity, police say
Authorities say two Mahwah residents attempted to fraudulently solicit funds for a charity that helps veterans, although they weren't officially part of the organization.
According to Wayne Police, Steven and Jan Toms allegedly set up a table outside the Stop and Shop in the Preakness Shopping Center in Wayne on Jan. 25, and told customers they were collecting money for "Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon."
Wayne Detective Dave Collins was alerted to the situation after the president of the real Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon organization contacted him. The president informed Collins that "the two actors committing the fraud had, in fact, presented false documents to Stop and Shop in order to appear to be part of the legitimate organization," Wayne police said in a press release Monday.
The detective conducted an investigation which identified 59-year-old Steven and 58-year-old Jan Toms as the "two people who committed the fraud," police said.
The two individuals were arrested at Wayne Police Headquarters and charged with wrongful impersonation, theft by deception and tampering with public records, police said.
"It is believed that these two individuals have in fact conducted this fraudulent activity in other surrounding jurisdiction as well," police said in the release.
According to authorities, Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, which was founded in 2008, is a real charity based in Fairlawn. The group raises funds to help "provide for wounded servicemen and women as they transition into civilian life." Police say they've received several awards and have been recognized for their charitable work.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.