By Charlotte Huffman
DOYLESTOWN, Pa., (CBS) — “I just want whatever happens in court for the healing process to begin for myself and for others. I just really want to be able to put everything that has happened during my addiction and now recovery behind me,” Don Tollefson said in an exclusive CBS3 interview after he plead guilty Monday morning.
The former television sportscaster admitted that he ripped off charities and individuals by offering to sell them sports travel packages to big games and then failing to deliver the merchandise.
Tollefson blames years of drug and alcohol addiction for why things spiraled out of control.
Prosecutors say the offers were to events like Phillies’ spring training, Eagles’ away games and the Super Bowl.
“I think (victims) are relieved but afraid to completely exhale until Mr. Tollefson is sentenced and I don’t blame them. But this is a very positive step along with a journey that we want to end in a good fashion,” said Bucks County’s Chief of Prosecution, Matt Weintraub.
Tollefson, 62, pleaded guilty to theft and related charges for stealing, according to prosecutors, in excess of $300,000 from more than 200 people.
Tollefson told Eyewitness News that he is nearing the one year mark of sobriety and part of his healing process includes being a “responsible, accountable, human being.”
“I don’t know that he’s changed I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him since the day he was arrested,” said Tom Fox, one of the victims.
When Eyewitness News reporter Charlotte Huffman asked Tollefson if he has anything to say to the victims, he said “I just want to make amends.”
“I’m really looking for the money to pay the victims back. Whichever way (Tollefson) can come up with it to pay the victims back legitimately, that would satisfy me,” said Weintraub.
Tollefson’s attorney, Sharif Abaza said restitution will be paid and that the defense is the process of paying it.
Tollefson received a 60 day deferral of sentencing. He remains on electronic monitoring and faces a maximum of 37 years behind bars, although sentencing guidelines call for much less.
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