EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WDTN) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has announced a lawsuit against a “phony charity” that claimed to collect donations for the benefit of East Palestine residents.

According to a release by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Yost’s lawsuit alleged that Mike Peppel presented the Ohio Clean Water Fund as a nonprofit organization acting on behalf of Second Harvest Food Bank of Mahoning Valley to provide residents with aid and bottled water.

Yost alleged that Peppel, along with others, was soliciting contributions and had pocketed at least $131,000 of the approximately $141,000 raised from over 3,000 donors.

Representatives of Second Harvest Food Bank reportedly complained to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, saying they did not authorize the partnership.

Yost’s Office reported that Second Harvest Food Bank had confronted Peppel twice, telling him to stop advertising the partnership.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office reports, “To date, and only after he was called out, Peppel has paid only $10,000 to the food bank, a mere 7% of what Peppel admits he raised.”

For those who wish to make a charitable donation, Yost encouraged donors to research charities and ask the right questions. Click here for details on making informed charitable donations.