Accused Scammer Lists ‘The News Station’ as Charity Sponsor

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SCRANTON -- Several people filed a lawsuit Monday in Scranton against a person who hired them this summer to collect money for charity.

They claim the charity is bogus.

The person in question even went so far as to have shirts made listing sponsors for the so-called fundraiser and WNEP-TV is on the list.

The people who filed that lawsuit said they worked more than 40 hours a week for several weeks for what they thought was a charitable organization called "The Brotherhood for Christianity" that was run by a man who presented himself as an ordained minister.

Chante Ayers, Tichelle Ramirez, and LaToya Shafe were looking for some extra work this summer and thought they had a pretty good gig working for a local charity. They sometimes put in more than 40 hours a week asking people to donate to The Brotherhood of Christianity.

They showed Newswatch 16 the t-shirts they wore as uniforms. They look legitimate, and the women thought the job was. But, after they were told they'd never be paid, they decided to file a lawsuit against their employer.

"That's why we're here today, and I've been calling all these companies and asking them, 'Did you give money? If you did I apologize because the money isn't going where it's supposed to be going,'" Ayers said.

WNEP-TV is one of the companies listed as a charity sponsor. But, our station was never contacted about the charity that supposedly benefits victims of child abuse.

Ayers says she later found out most of the companies on the t-shirts had never heard of the charity either.

The women then began to think their employer was the only person benefitting from the money they had raised over the past few weeks.

"During the day you'd make about $800 a day in each bucket, and he had everybody out on the corners," Ramirez added.

The women were told by their employer Sunday that they would never see a paycheck for their work, and haven't heard from him since. His name is Troy Leitner and admits he posed as an ordained minister.

The people Leitner recruited say they feel scammed and hope the lawsuit helps them get the money they earned.

"I thought, 'it's fine, people are going to get money out of this.' It was going to be a good thing. But, it wasn't," said Ramirez.

We were able to reach Leitner for comment. He said he was only trying to raise money for charity by selling t-shirts.

"We just go out here to get these people behind us by becoming a member of our organization. For a membership you get a t-shirt that says your name on the back of the shirt that you stand behind child abuse and we give them plaques for their walls as a member," Leitner said.

Leitner's employees said police have confronted Leitner for not having a peddler's permit. No word on whether any criminal charges will be filed against him.