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January 22, 2015

Ex-Philly Sportscaster Convicted in $340,000 Charity Fraud

After an 11-day trial in which represented himself, former Philadelphia television personality Don Tollefson was found guilty Wednesday of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from fans who believed they were buying sports travel packages to benefit local charities, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A Bucks County, Pa., jury convicted the 62-year-old sportscaster of money laundering, theft, and three other charges, after which he was jailed on a $350,000 bond.

Once the region's highest-paid sports anchor, Mr. Tollefson was arrested last February after buyers of his excursions to Eagles road games and other events said he had not delivered promised game and flight tickets. He initially pleaded guilty but withdrew from the deal last month, claiming he acted with no criminal intent but was done in by bad business judgment and an addiction to painkillers.

Some 200 victims paid about $340,000 in the scheme, much of which prosecutors said flowed from Mr. Tollefson's charities into his personal bank accounts.