PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former Philadelphia official who oversaw some of the city’s biggest events, like the Mummers Parade and the Philadelphia Marathon, was sentenced Wednesday for stealing nearly $150,000.
Leo Dignam will spend 15 months in federal prison after admitting wire fraud and embezzling charges.
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Prosecutors say the thefts happened from 2012 through 2019 through a bank account meant for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“This was $150,000 that was meant for some of the neediest people in Philadelphia. These were for programs for underprivileged people, for parks, for recreation centers. And this defendant used those funds as his personal piggy bank and helped himself to whatever he needed over a period of several years when he didn’t need to. He made a very good salary, he had a pension, and there was really no excuse for his conduct,” Deputy U.S. Attorney Lou Lappen said.
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Dignam’s city employee annual salary was $116,000.
Dignam has already paid restitution. He’s set to report to federal prison in July.
The city has made changes since the thefts were found.
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In a statement, Parks and Recreation Communications Director Maita Soukup said: “Under this administration, modernizing the financial management of recreation programs has been a priority. We recognized past practice was vulnerable to potential impropriety, and put into place improved policies, procedures and staff training for managing recreation fundraising and fees. These include: mandatory disclosure of all recreation-related external bank accounts; monthly oversight of all disclosed recreation accounts; new policies for the management of recreation center advisory council finances; and an ongoing effort to manage recreational funds through a third party fiscal sponsor who can help consolidate the accounts and provide appropriate oversight and management.”