By Brad Segall and Diana Rocco
WARMINSTER, Pa. (CBS) — Former Philadelphia broadcaster and media personality Don Tollefson surrendered to authorities on felony fraud charges this morning.
Prosecutors in Bucks County and police in Warminster Township say Tollefson will be charged with a number of felonies related to money that he solicited for charities throughout the area, and then, according to authorities, misappropriated.
According to prosecutors, Tollefson, 61, of Glenside, Pa., victimized more than 100 individuals and misappropriated more than $100,000 over a three-year period. Some of those organizations include the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, the Salvation Army, and the Brad Fox Foundation, in Montgomery County.
Prosecutors say the investigation began when people at a fundraiser for the Brad Fox Foundation told them they purchased ticket packages for sporting events but never received tickets or their money back.
But defense attorney Michael McGovern believes that although mistakes were made, his client will be exonerated.
“I think he recognizes that he needs to put people in positions where they are whole again. There was no criminal intent here,” McGovern told reporters.
Tollefson is charged with felony theft and dealing with the proceeds of unlawful activity. Prosecutors says it appears he used his celebrity status to gain entry to these organizations, promising them half of the proceeds from the ticket packages.
As CBS 3’s Diana Rocco reports, Darren Meehan was one of the alleged victims. He’s the Executive Director of the Officer Brad Fox 5K Foundation.
Last year Tollefson was the event emcee. After the event at Kenny’s Tavern he allegedly sold the phony packages to dozens of couples.
“When people are asking when are we leaving and what are the details of the flights, and he wasn’t giving it. We weren’t really too concerned but as it got closer and closer, and we weren’t getting the information, it really started to raise suspicion,” Meehan said.
“Someone like Don Tollefson behind it, you know, he’s banking on his name and using his name and that’s what sold a lot of people,” Meehan said. “It’s sad because he came to our event and really his participation really raised it up a level. You would hope if you can trust someone, it would be someone like Don Tollefson.”
The Officer Brad Fox 5K Run will go off as scheduled this year in April with nearly the all of the sponsors that had they had last year.
Tollefson turned himself in this morning in Warminster. Bail was set at $250,000, and Tollefson and his lawyers were trying to figure out how to post the required ten percent. In the meantime, Tollefson was transported to the Bucks County Prison.