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Theft at charity – Ex-Marine pleads guilty

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The founder and former president of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation pleaded guilty to stealing $1.8 million from the charity, the Associated Press reports.

Jerry Lee King put the money in a Hong Kong bank account while he was the foundation’s president from 1991 to 1993, U.S. Attorney Denise O’Donnell told AP.

King, who served in the Marines in the Vietnam War, created the foundation in Buffalo in 1991 to help distribute Christmas gifts to poor children and to promote the Toys for Tots program of the Marine Corps Reserve, a separate program that handles the toy drive.

King pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

King also admitted making false statements on a tax return, a charge that carries up to three years in prison.

He will be sentenced June 27.

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