Former sportscaster Donald Tollefson fraudulently raised charity money, authorities say
Tollefson, 61, scammed more than 100 individuals, took more than $100,000, police say
He sold Eagles game-day packages, did not turn in money, one charity says
Former Philadelphia Eagles broadcaster Donald Tollefson was arrested Tuesday on charges alleging that he embezzled more than $100,000 in charity donations, according to the Bucks County district attorney’s office.
Tollefson fraudulently raised money for charities, such as the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, the Salvation Army and the Brad Fox Foundation, and pocketed that money over the last three years, according to an investigation led by the Warminster Township Police Department.
Investigators believe the ex-sportscaster stole more than $100,000 and scammed more than 100 individuals. Investigators are concerned there may be more individuals involved, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.
Tollefson, 61, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Bucks County District Court on charges of unlawful activity, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and violations of the Pennsylvania charitable organizations statute. Tollefson is being held in the county jail after failing to post bail set at $250,000, according to the news release.
The police investigation alleges that on October 8, Tollefson sold Eagles game-day trip packages for $500 at a 5K memorial run for Brad Fox, a Plymouth Township police officer killed in line of duty.
Tollefson told attendees that half of the money would go to the Brad Fox Foundation and the other half would go to his own charity. According to one witness, a total of 18 packages were sold at a tavern after the run. But Thomas Fox, Brad’s father, said his son’s charity has not received any money from Tollefson to date, according to the release.
Tollefson, a Glenside resident, is best known for his coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and for hosting sports shows such as “Eagles Game Day Live” and “Eagles Game Plan.” In 1999, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia named him Person of the Year and inducted him into their Hall of Fame, according to the sportscaster’s biography on the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia website.
According to the district attorney’s office, Tollefson is due back in court for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. on February 27.