Deputies: Kids were forced into scam 'fundraiser' - FOX 35 News Orlando

Deputies: Kids were forced into scam 'fundraiser'

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SPRING HILL (FOX 13) -

Nine kids, none older than 15 years old, walked up and down a Spring Hill street, selling items to people saying they were raising money for a non-profit. But deputies say they've discovered that this was a scam, and arrested two men for fraud.

When those nine kids knocked on doors on Kenway Street in Spring Hill selling cookies, candies and dog biscuits Wednesday, most didn't bat an eyelash.

"It's normal, kids come around for football teams, baseball teams, PBA," said Gregory Leszek of Spring Hill.

The group said they were trying to raise money for a "non-profit youth organization."

Hernando County Sheriff Deputies say that couldn't be further from the truth.

"The person who bought the item thought he was making a donation to this non-profit youth group when in fact they were making a donation to the bad guys," said Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney.

They say the non-profit is a scam, and the bad guys in this case are Kendy Senat, 22, and Terrence Holiday, 21, both of Orlando.

They've been arrested and charged with organized fraud.

Investigators say the two men drove the nine children, who ranged in age from 12 to 15, from Orlando to hustle in Hernando County -- leaving them to walk the streets alone in 90-degree temperatures.

"One of the juveniles, the 12 year old, went up to a door and asked a man who answered the door if he could have a bottle of water," said Moloney.

That man was Leszek. He says they tried to sell him some items, and when he declined, they asked for some refreshment.

"He asked me for two bottles of water and I went and got him two of bottles of water. He looked like he needed water," added Leszek.

Bob Hahn also saw the group.

"They looked tired, they looked like they were really beat," said Hahn. "They asked me to use the phone."

Investigators say parents of the group were told they were coming to Tampa for an anti-drug youth group meeting.

The entire incident has left the people in this quiet neighborhood disgusted.

"I think it's terrible, exploiting children like that is a terrible thing," said Leszek.

Deputies say the group was able to raise about $500 on Wednesday.

In addition to fraud charges, Senat and Holiday are facing nine charges of child neglect.

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