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State official, prosecutor, pick apart 'Tolly's' charitable expenses

Money, money, money discussed on day two of Don Tollefson's theft trial.

EX-TV SPORTS anchor Don Tollefson said there is nothing untoward about the five-figure money-wire transfers from his charity bank account to his personal bank account - because that money was spent to make kids happy.

A Bucks County prosecutor spent the better part of yesterday afternoon dissecting Tollefson's personal bank account as well as those of his charities on the third day of his trial on theft by deception charges.

Records show Tollefson would accept donations and, soon after, transfer some or part of them into his or his wife's personal bank account - as much as $50,000 one time.

But Tollefson, acting as his own attorney, said that the prosecution was "cherry-picking" his bank accounts and singling out expenditures that looked suspicious. When cashier's checks in the amount of $10,000 for William Penn Tickets or $48,000 for StubHub were highlighted yesterday as evidence, Tollefson said the money went toward serving the children who benefited from his charities.

The well-known former Philadelphia sportscaster, with the help of standby counsel Bob Goldman, is fighting charges that he bilked more than $340,000 from sports fans and charitable donors, many of whom testified Tuesday to their misfortune and how "Tolly" would always end a conversation by calling them, "my awesome friend."

Drew Koser is a special agent with the Pennsylvania Department of State who investigates misspent money within charitable organizations. Called as a prosecution witness, he approached the stand with a hefty tome of Tollefson's bank documents.

According to his bank records, Tollefson swiped the debit card of his Winning Ways charity at liquor outlets across the Delaware Valley and withdrew more than $15,900 from ATMs during one short time period in 2012.

Under direct questioning by Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub, Koser said that none of Tollefson's charities - including Winning Ways, One Child Saved, Tackle Hatred Now, Employ Young Adults and others - were registered with the state, as required by law for any that earns more than $25,000.

Koser took a close look at Winning Ways Education, one of Tollefson's charities for underprivileged kids, which was flying high in the black by nearly $1 million until Tollefson's withdrawals plunged it into the red by more than $53,000.

For example, between April 2012 and February 2013, Tollefson had withdrawn $62,945 in cash from the Bank of America Winning Ways account. By April, the Winning Ways account was closed after it was overdrawn by more than $50,000.

Then there are the debit-card purchases, again and again spent at liquor stores, pet supply and grooming stores and storage spaces throughout the region. In August 2012, Tollefson transferred $49,000 from his Winning Ways charity account to his wife's PNC account, and again in October that year another in the amount of $27,300.

Prosecutors began what is expected to be a three-week trial on Tuesday. Tollefson is expected to cross-examine Koser this morning.