“Minister Troy” Defends Charity

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SCRANTON -- A man in Scranton, accused by his employees of running a fake charity for children, is trying to prove that his mission is for real.

Troy Leitner says his charity, "The Brotherhood of Christianity" is not a scam and now has all the necessary registration to be a charitable organization.

But, Newswatch 16 checked with officials from the state who say there's no record that this charity exists.

Leitner admitted he's not the ordained minister he presented himself to be. And, just a day after his employees filed a complaint with the Lackawanna County District Attorney's office, Leitner hit the streets himself asking for donations for "The Brotherhood of Christianity".

Leitner also admitted he's been soliciting donations since June without the proper registration from the state and without a proper bank account for his organization. He thought a peddler's permit from the City of Scranton was enough.

"I didn't know, I just thought because I had this license from the city I was good to go. So, I went to the bank and they said I can't cash the checks," Leitner said.

Leitner said he's been carrying around the un-deposited checks in his pants pocket.

But, what happened to all of the cash donations?

Leitner says most of that has been spent on advertisements and promotional t-shirts for The Brotherhood of Christianity.

A few other things about Leitner's charity don't add up.

We checked with the Pennsylvania Department of State and officials there say there's no registration for the charity like Leitner claims there is.

Leitner says his goal is to raise $52,000 in order to buy a vacant building in West Scranton to open a recreation center for abused kids. Newswatch 16 tracked down the owner of the building. He says that's not quite right, he's asking double that amount for the property.

Leitner has stayed committed though and says people shouldn't worry about donating their money to him because his mission is clear.

"West side is in need of help right now, we want to open a place called the West Side Recreation Center where kids that are underprivileged, or throw-aways, or runaways, can come and get some help," Leitner added.

Lackawanna County District Attorney Andrew Jarbola says it's unlikely Leitner will face criminal charges because it would be difficult to prove Leitner intended to scam people.

But, Jarbola says he could be charged with false advertising for listing WNEP-TV and other businesses as a corporate sponsors without permission.