Sportscaster on Trial for Scams, says it was All About the Kids

The fraud trial against a former Philly Sports Anchor is expected to wrap up next week.

After he was fired from his $240,000-a-year job at WTXF Fox29, Don Tollefson was living off his wife's income and disability payments related to a car crash. 

But two infusions of cash soon came his way. 

The first was a $333,000 out-of-court settlement in the car accident. When that dried up, he cracked open his $400,000 pension from Fox, Tollefson testified Friday. 

All the money was gone in less than four years.

"I'm proud to say I spent it on the kids," Tollefson told jurors on the ninth day of his fraud trial. 

Tollefson is accused of selling $340,000 worth of bogus travel packages to sports-related events in the name of his charity, Winning Ways, and pocketing much of the money.

"You already spent the money to keep living your life," Prosecutor Weintraub said.

Tollefson denied the contention, saying he was a bad businessman who tried to save his charity, established to help poor city children. But he never rebutted claims that he failed to deliver travel packages to the World Cup, the Kentucky Derby, an Eagles game, or other events. 

"I don't dispute anything you are saying," Tollefson said. "I took contributions until I ran out of money. . . . I told people I will pay you back someday. . . . I told people I don't have the money. I can't pay you back. Someday I will."

Tollefson also agreed that much of the money intended for his charity ended up in his personal bank account. But he said that was out of convenience, not deception. 

"Should I have done that?" Tollefson asked, referring to mingling the money in the charity and his own accounts. "Probably not. But I never did it to deceive or commit a crime."

H/T Philly Inquirer