Was Don Tollefson a “Pied Piper” or Bad Businessman?

His trial on fraud charges begins.

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Ex-sportscaster Don Tollefson’s trial finally got under way Tuesday, with prosecutors painting him as a “Pied Piper” who cheated trusting sports fans out of money, and his defense saying that he is simply a “bad businessman.”

KYW:

Tollefson told the jury his intentions were good and that he simply ran out of money because he was a bad businessman. He told the jury he didn’t personally benefit from the money that was paid for sports travel packages that were sold at charity events throughout the Delaware Valley over a two year period.

He said he tried to do too much, but he doesn’t believe he did anything criminal and told the jury to listen to the evidence.

The Bucks County Courier Times details prosecutor Matthew Weintraub’s argument:

“Mr. Tollefson dangled the shiniest carrot in front of them that could possibly be dangled,” said Weintraub. “He said, ‘If you pay, you donate to my charity, to your charity and you get to go to the Eagles game with flight and hotel included.’”

But Weintraub said that Tollefson never intended to funnel the money he collected toward any of the charities, nor did he ever intend to provide donors with promised event tickets, hotel arrangements or flight bookings.

“He conned these charities out of donations that were to be theirs,” said Weintraub.

Tollefson is accused of taking more $340,000 from more than 200 victims who thought they were buying trips to high-profile sporting events.