Former Philadelphia sportscaster Don Tollefson, who was charged with fraud last year after pocketing money that was supposed to go to charities, was sentenced to two to four years in state prison and 15 years of probation for felony money laundering, fraud, and theft. He’s eligible for early release in 14 months, and his probation can be reduced to ten years if he pays back all of the money he owes.
Tollefson sold fraudulent travel packages to fans, with proceeds supposedly going to charity. The fans never got what they paid for, and the charities never got the money from Tollefson. His restitution was cut from $340,000 to $164,000, and the remainder of the money owed to a ticket agency will be decided in civil court. He’ll also be forced to pay back the fans who paid for the travel packages that Tollefson never delivered.
The whole story is quite sad. A psychologist testified that he believed Tollefson suffered from narcissism because of his upbringing, which led to years of depression, alcoholism, and addiction. Tollefson helped raise money for non-profits for decades before hie began ripping people off, which he claimed was because he was a “bad businessman” as opposed to a truly malicious person.
In a perfect world, everyone will get their money back, Tollefson will pay his penance to society, and remain sober for the rest of his life. Unfortunately in situations like this, it’s tough for everything to end in the best possible way for everyone involved.