Senese ran the I Care Foundation.
NEW YORK: Peter Senese, 49, the founding director of the I CARE Foundation (I CARE’), which advertises itself as a “self-funded non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abduction and trafficking”, was charged with one count of wire fraud, earlier this week.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announcing the said since at least 2013, Senese allegedly defrauded parents whose children were victims of international abduction by falsely representing that he, working with the worldwide resources of I CARE, could rescue their children and return to them to the United States in exchange for money for his purported rescue operation expenses.
“As alleged, Peter Senese fed a pack of lies to desperate parents by telling them, among other things, that he and his company could, for a price, locate and recover their internationally kidnapped children. In fact, he could do no such thing, but that didn’t stop him from allegedly repeatedly reaching out to the parents for more money to fund his non-existent rescue mission. This type of alleged fraud that preys on the especially vulnerable and desperate is a top priority for us, and we will work to ensure those who commit these outrageous crimes are held to strict account,” said Bharara.
Through his websites (www.stopchildabduction.org and www.petersenese.com) and elsewhere, Senese, of Brooklyn, New York, promotes I CARE as “a self-funded not-for-profit 501-C-3[sic] corporation” that “does not accept outside financial contributions and has reunited numerous internationally kidnapped children while preventing an exponentially larger number of children from abduction,” reported the Justice Department.
Senese also represents that I CARE includes “some of the leading figures in the world dedicated to protecting children from abduction and trafficking” and that “there have been many, many children of international parental child abduction who have been reunited and returned home due directly to the great efforts, financial, legal, and investigative resources” of I CARE.
Between at least November 2013 and February 2015, Senese specifically represented to victims that he could recover their children from other countries by working with a team of former members of the U.S. Army component Delta Force, of which Senese claimed to have also been a member.
Senese repeatedly represented to one victim (“V-1”) that he could recover V-1’s child (Child-1) from India in a matter of weeks, but that he needed a few thousand dollars from V-1 to cover his operational expenses. In the months that followed, he repeatedly represented that he was very close to recovering Child-1, appeared on a local radio program with V-1, and sent numerous text messages and emails stating, in part, that he was either in India or an unspecified “remote location” and that Child-1 would be returned to the United States in a matter of hours or days.
During the same period, Senese repeatedly asked for additional funds, typically ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 per month to cover his operational expenses.
In fact, Senese has not traveled outside of the country for years. While Senese represented that he was in foreign locations, he was actually in Miami, Florida; New York, New York; or Los Angeles, California. He also has never had any affiliation with the United States military, and the children Senese promised to recover have not been recovered.