Marjorie Taylor Greene’s campaign manager to pay $25k over Ohio train derailment scam | Ohio train derailment

The manager of the 2020 campaign that launched the far-right politician Marjorie Taylor Greene to Congress has been ordered to pay $25,000 for his role in a charity scam aimed at capitalizing on the East Palestine train crash.

Isaiah Wartman and his business partner Luke Mahoney must each pay $22,000 in restitution as well as $3,000 in investigative costs and fees as part of a settlement with the Ohio attorney general’s office, which prosecuted the case. Meanwhile, the settlement calls for a co-founder of the fake charity, Michael Peppel, to pay a $25,000 civil penalty and be banned from starting, running or soliciting for any charitable organization in the state.

The settlement, announced on Thursday, stems from the men’s involvement with the fraudulent Ohio Clean Fund, which sought donations for victims of February’s East Palestine train derailment.

Mahoney previously worked as a campaign staffer for the New York Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik. Wartman and Mahoney formed Wama Strategies, a digital firm launched in February 2023.

Greene’s campaign paid the firm nearly $71,000 in the second quarter of this year, three years after Wartman helmed her successful run to her first term on Congress.

Peppel previously worked as an aide to state and federal Republican lawmakers in Ohio, including the congressman Bill Johnson.

The Ohio Clean Water Fund for which Wartman and Mahoney served as fundraisers raised $149,000 in donations in the wake of the East Palestine train derailment disaster in Ohio. The charity claimed it would provide donations to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley.

But the Ohio Clean Water Fund only donated $10,000, and the charity pocketed the rest.

According to the settlement, Wama Strategies cannot solicit charitable donations in Ohio for the next four years. Mahoney also agreed not to start, operate or raise any money for any charity in Ohio until 2027.

An attorney representing Wama Strategies told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Wartman and Mahoney were victims of fraud by Peppel but did not comment on whether they were pursuing legal action against him. He also claimed Wartman and Mahoney returned the rest of the donations they received after learning there was no contract between the charity and the food bank.

“I have said from the beginning that we will continue to fight for the people of East Palestine, which is exactly what we did here,” Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, said in a statement. “These scammers preyed on generous donors to try to line their own pockets, but ultimately were stopped and shut down.” Marjorie Taylor Greene’s campaign manager to pay $25k over Ohio train derailment scam | Ohio train derailment

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