EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — Mike Iberis of the Second Harvest Food Bank announced the recovery of $138,982.36 on Friday resulting from the Ohio Clean Water Fund charity “scam” in East Palestine.
First News originally reported on the issue back in April when the Second Harvest Food Bank brought attention to the fact that the Ohio Clean Water Fund, spearheaded by Mike Peppel, falsely claimed to have a partnership with the nonprofit.
“We never authorized this group to raise money to be a partnership in this money, because we don’t have partnerships,” Iberis said at the time.
The Ohio Clean Water Fund raised over $141,000 according to its website, but gave a cashier’s check of only $10,000 to Second Harvest. Back in April, Peppel said the unaccounted-for $131,000 went to “agency fees that total up to $14,118.35 and data prospecting fees that add up to $91,769.26.”
The Attorney General got involved, suing what Yost called a “phony charity” in April before later dismissing the case in June after “good faith discussions.”
On Friday, Attorney General Dave Yost’s office announced the recovery of $138,982.36 following “an extensive investigation and legal measures to combat the illicit practices of the fraudulent charity.”
All of the recovered funds were donated back to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, which will be distributing them to help those in need in East Palestine.