The I CARE Foundation advertises itself as a “self-funded nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child abduction and trafficking.”
Through the websites www.stopchildabduction.org and www.petersenese.com and elsewhere, the founder of I CARE maintains that he “does not accept outside financial contributions and has reunited numerous internationally kidnapped children while preventing an exponentially larger number of children from abduction.”
He 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.
Former Delta Force members
Between at least November 2013 and February 2015, the founder 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’s Delta Force, of which he claimed to have been a member.
The founder repeatedly represented to one individual that he could recover a child from India in a matter of weeks, but that he needed a few thousand dollars to cover his operational expenses.
In the months that followed, the founder repeatedly represented that he was very close to recovering the child, appeared on a local radio program with the parent, and sent numerous text messages and e-mails stating, in part, that he was either in India or an unspecified “remote location” and that the child would be returned to the United States in a matter of hours or days.
During the same period, the founder repeatedly asked for additional funds, typically ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 per month to cover his operational expenses.
Not in foreign locations
In fact, the government charges, Peter Senese has not traveled outside of the country for years. While he represented that he was in foreign locations, he was actually in Miami, Florida; New York, New York; or Los Angeles, California.
Senese also has never had any affiliation with the U.S. military, and the children he promised to recover have not been recovered.
Senese, 49, was arrested in Brooklyn, New York. He is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “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.”