NBC10.com - Deanna Durante
Prosecutors have fielded more phone calls from people claiming to be victims of Philly sportscaster Don Tollefson. NBC10's Deanna Durante spoke to a member of a charity who helped put a stop to the alleged scheme.
A former Philadelphia sportscaster remained in jail Wednesday after turning himself into authorities a day earlier for allegedly cheating charities out of more than $100,000.
Don Tollefson, 61, was unable to post the required 10 percent of the $250,000 bail Tuesday, according to court records.
Authorities adjusted conditions of the former 6ABC and FOX29 sportscaster's bail Wednesday. The $25,000 in cash needed for Tollefson to leave custody has been reduced to $10,000 under the condtion that he puts up his Glenside home.
Tollefson faces first- and third-degree felonies and misdemeanors and will next appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 27, court records show.
The charges arose after some Eagles fans told police they never received the tickets and other items they purchased at charity auctions.
"He scammed us with a smile on his face," said Cindy Moffitt. "He put himself right up there with God and Santa Claus as far as I'm concerned."
She bought a $500 package to attend an Eagles game in Denver when she attended the Officer Brad Fox Foundation 5K Run in April 2012.
But, Moffitt says, the day she was supposed to travel to Colorado for the game, Tollefson told her there were no tickets.
"I thought if I don't stop this, it is going to continue," said Moffitt, who was initially hestitant to go to the police. "He hasn't even said he's sorry."
Tollefson, who acknowledged his addition issues during the arraignment by telling the judge he has been sober for 131 days, did not address the charges.
"We look forward to our day in court," said Tollefson's attorney, Michael McGovern. "We expect at the end of these proceedings he will be exonerated of all these charges."
Shortly after the arraignment began Tuesday, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office asked any potential victims to contact them.
Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Donald Tollefson, please call Warminster Detective Bonargo: 215-343-0100, 215-672-1000
— Bucks Co DA's Office (@BucksDa) February 18, 2014
The NBC10 Investigators first reported that Don Tollefson was expected to surrender in Bucks County Tuesday on counts including theft, fraud and solicitation charges.
"The evidence to date shows that Tollefson, over the past three years, fraudulently solicited money for charities -- including the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, the Salvation Army, and the Brad Fox Foundation -- then misappropriated that money. The investigation shows Tollefson victimized more than 100 individuals and misappropriated more than $100,000."
In January, a Montgomery County judge told Tollefson to pay up $3,300 to an Allentown couple he promised a Super Bowl trip to. That was just one of a slew of promised trips that were allegedly never delivered.
Earlier, police confirmed they investigated the former Philadelphia sportscaster after questions surfaced about his charity and Eagles tickets promised to people who made donations.
Warminster Police, along with the Bucks County District Attorney's Office and the State Bureau of Corporations & Charitable Organizations took a look at Tollefson's alleged actions.
Tollefson, who was a broadcaster for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and 2012, has done fundraising for disadvantaged children for more than a decade. During his fundraising, Tollefson often auctioned off Eagles tickets, not receiving public complaints at first.
Last January however when Anthony Taormina, a manager for an East Norriton bowling alley, claimed he bought six ticket packages for Eagles away games for about $4500 at Tollefson’s Wounded Warriors fundraiser.
“I figured the money was going toward the charity,” he said. “I was going to get two nights at a hotel, two tickets to the game and airfare for two people to go.”
Taormina says he never received the ticket package.
Micki Keane also says she bought tickets at the same event.
“We thought it was a great opportunity for the wounded warrior,” she said. “I have a nephew in Afghanistan.”
Keane claimed tickets never materialized, even after she sent an angry email to Tollefson claiming he “did not delay in charging $4500” to her credit card. Keane also said the money was charged to a different charity, “Winning Ways Education,” instead of “Wounded Warriors.”
“He did eventually call me back and said he was sorry,” Keane said. “He said because of the change in leadership at the Eagles there were some issues. But he said he would take care of it.”
Tollefson also served as the emcee for the Officer Brad Fox Foundation 5K Run in Warminster in April 2012. The foundation’s Facebook page posted a message claiming Tollefson promised half the proceeds from selling ticket packages would go to the foundation. However, the latest posting states, “We want to note we have not received any donations from Don Tollefson.”
Barbara Terra says she spent $500 on a deal Tollefson offered during the event to go to an Eagles game in Denver.
"Nicest guy in the world when you talk to him," she said. "But he's a flat out liar. He continually kept saying he'd get back to me and that he'd have it by Wednesday night at 10 o'clock. I emailed him to let him know I was still waiting on my husband's information. And then... we heard the trip was off."
Mark Sandor, says he met Tollefson in July at a Wounded Warriors charity event in Avalon, N.J. Sandor says he paid $1,800 in a silent auction to get 2014 season tickets for the Eagles.
Sandor claims his credit card was charged two days later but after several back and forth emails with Tollefson, there were red flags that something was wrong.
"The receipt here is for Winning Ways but the donation's coordinator is One Child Saved," Sandor said. "I don't necessarily know what that is because the whole event was Wounded Warriors. It almost leaves me speechless. We all trusted him."
Lou Berman, president of Louie's Voice, an organization raising awareness on autism, says he and a fellow board member bought tickets to the British Open and the US Open for 2014 at an event Tollefson was emceeing. After paying $4,500, Berman claims they received nothing.
"We received no receipt, itinerary, travel arrangements, confirmation, not even a thank you card," Berman wrote in a released statement. "One of these trips we were going to raffle to raise money for our new foundation 'Louie’s Voice' that provides assistance to children and families that suffer from Autism. Our toy drive will likely be canceled this year as we don’t have the funds to put on the event, because we were hoping to auction the trip to raise money. We are devastated that this has happened to us. So many children who suffer from autism will be disappointed."
Eagles management received several calls in relation to Tollefson.
“We have spoken with Don Tollefson and have expressed our concerns about this situation,” said an Eagles spokesperson last fall. “To be clear, the Philadelphia Eagles do not have any affiliation with Mr. Tollefson and he was not authorized to use our trademarked logo.”
NBC10 tried to reach Tollefson for comment. He has not yet gotten back to us however. Earlier, Tollefson denied the allegations against him while speaking to the Times Herald.
“The trips weren’t held up to the standard they had been before,” he told the paper. “I made a personal decision not to do them this year. “
State officials also say none of the five charities Tollefson was associated with are registered. If a charity collects less than $25,000 a year, registration is not required.
Any potential victims that haven't come forward at this point can contact Warminster Township Police Det. John Bonargo at (215) 343-0100 or (215) 672-1000.
As the police investigation continues, Keane says she just wants her money back.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” Keane said. “But, refund our money.”