NCIS investigating Marines and Mickey charity after Skip Wells' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

NCIS investigating Marines and Mickey charity after Skip Wells' mother cuts ties

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A few weeks after the mother of fallen Marine Lance Corporal Skip Wells publicly accused the Mickey and Marines organizer of fraud and stolen valor, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) is launching their own investigation into the charity. 

"I can confirm that NCIS is responding to complaints regarding financial practices of the charity "Marines and Mickey," said NCIS Spokesperson Ed Buice, "If other individuals have similar concerns, NCIS would like to speak with them. Beyond that, NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations."

The mother of Skip Wells, Cathy Wells, first posted on the Lance Corporal Skip Wells Foundation Facebook page in February saying, "We are sad to report that the Lpcl Skip Wells Foundation has officially disassociated itself from any and all relationships with the Marines & Mickey foundation." 

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The post goes on to say, "He has misrepresented himself as a former Force Recon Marine, Drill Instructor and Msgt. He was confronted by our board and Cathy Wells today and refused to turn over proceeds that were donated under false pretenses. There will be federal charges for stolen valor, 501c3 tax fraud, and many other criminal charges the authorities at the federal level are currently investigating. Please contact us directly before donating, or supporting him or his fund raising efforts. Semper Fi."

Lance Corporal Skip Wells was one of the five servicemen to be killed at the Naval Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway on July 16th. Cathy wells told Channel 3 shortly after his death she teamed up with Marines and Mickey because she would go with Skip to Disney World every summer, and some of her best memories with her son are from there.

According to the Marines and Mickey web page, the charity says it gives "stressed-out Marine families a well-deserved vacation and precious time together between deployments at the most fun places on earth: Disneyland and Walt Disney World!"

The post from the Skip Wells Foundation sparked a spur of public accusations of fraud and stolen valor against the Marines and Mickey organizer, John Simpson.

Simpson created his own post on the Marines and Mickey charity page calling the accusations "nothing short of blackmail and extortion, and I will be seeking criminal charges." The post goes on to say, "As far as Stolen Valor, I never said I was a Force Recon Marine, never said I had been on one tour to Afghanistan, much less four."

However, Channel 3 used an archive search of the Marines and Mickey website to see for ourselves. An archived version shows the text, "Marines & Mickey began in May 2014, the co-invention of a Marine, of course: John Simpson, president and founder, retired recon."

The NCIS investigates felony crimes involving Department of the Navy personnel, whether they are victims, suspects or both.

Tips can be submitted anonymously by calling the NCIS Hotline at 1-877-579-3648; by texting "NCIS" and then the tip info to CRIMES (274637) or by email at  https://www.tipsubmit.com/webtipsNAV.aspx?AgencyID=840

Channel 3 has reached out to John Simpson for comment and have not heard back yet.

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