Don Tollefson Sentenced to Two to Four Years in Prison for Charity Scam

He was found guilty of stealing more than $300,000.

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On Wednesday afternoon in a Bucks County courtroom, former Philadelphia sportscaster Don Tollefson, 62, was sentenced to two to four years in state prison, plus 15 years probation, for his charity scam, in which he bilked people out of over $300,000. He’s also being ordered to pay $164,000 in restitution.

In January, a jury found Tollefson guilty of three felonies, including theft, and two misdemeanor charges. Tollefson originally pleaded guilty in September before withdrawing his plea and representing himself at trial against the judge’s advice. Sentencing was scheduled for early March but had to be postponed due to attorney schedules.

Throughout the trial, Tollefson tried to convince the jury that he was no criminal — just bad at business. But prosecutors argued that Tollefson was a con artist who committed fraud by selling sports travel packages in the name of charity but never making good on the trips.

There was no shortage of damning testimony during the trial. The father of police officer Brad Fox, who was killed in the line of duty, testified that Tollefson received $500 in the name of the Brad Fox Foundation in exchange for a trip to an Eagles game. But the father testified that the foundation got nothing, and that there was no trip. Others had similar stories of their interactions with Tollefson. “You said, ‘Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.’ And I trusted you,” one prosecution witness said from the stand. “Then it all fell apart.”

The trial was also marked by some unusual moments. During his opening arguments, Tollefson somehow managed to get in mentions of MOVE, Adolf Hitler and Riley Cooper. The proceedings were also put on hold when Tollefson developed a sugar issue, explaining that he suffers from diabetes.

And today’s proceedings were also unusual, including reported testimony from a psychologist about Tollefson’s relationship with his mother:

Tollefson was arrested in February 2014. He was unable to post bail and remained in Bucks County Jail for over a month. Eventually, the judge was persuaded to change the bail conditions, and Tollefson was released and entered rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.

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