Berkeley County man admits to wire fraud involving Hearts2Heros organization
MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Christopher T. Engle, of Bunker Hill, West Virginia, has admitted to wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Engle, age 30, was the co-owner of Hearts2Heros, a for-profit entity that allegedly was meant to support the military by creating and sending care packages to deployed service members. Hearts2Heros employees solicited contributions and misrepresented that the organization was a charity.
Engle pled guilty today to a one-count information, charging him with “Wire Fraud.” Engle admitted that he defrauded donors in the Northern District of West Virginia, taking their donations for Hearts2Heros and using it for personal use. The fraud included thousands of donors from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The total loss is $286,959.95.
“Using our brave military personnel who are deployed overseas as a prop for a fraud scheme is deplorable conduct. Such conduct also is detrimental to the work of many wonderful community organizations who genuinely support our military. Thanks to the work of the FBI and our prosecution team, the defendant’s greed will now be appropriately dealt with by the court at sentencing,” said Powell.
Engle faces up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.