A 49-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested Tuesdayand charged with defrauding parents who were desperate to have their abducted children returned from foreign countries.
Peter Senese, who describes himself as the founding director of the "I Care" Foundation and author of a self-published book on child abduction, allegedly bilked one parent of a child thought to be in India of at least $34,000 beginning in November 2013, obtaining another $25,000 from the child's grandparents, according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara. Senese sent texts claiming to be in India recovering the child in 2014, but "has not traveled outside of the U.S. since 2007," according to court documents. Another child's parent allegedly gave Senese $5,000 in "initial expenses" to have two children returned from the Philippines.
Senese's foundation that purported to prevent child abduction and trafficking was a "ruse," FBI Assistant director Diego Rodgriguez said in a statement. Senese "preyed on the anguish of suffering families," while using their money for personal use, Rodriguez said.
Senese was the subject of a critical 2010 story in the Tampa Bay Times in which one parent described him as a "master con." He faces a single count of wire fraud, which carries a prison term of up to 30 years.
Attorney information for Senese was not available.