Man Sentenced to Probation for Taking Funds from Oil City Police Charity Event

| February 2, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – A management firm owner was sentenced on Friday to probation for failing to make required disbursements for a police charity event that he organized in Oil City in 2017.

According to court documents, Venango County Judge Robert Boyer handed down a sentence of seven years probation to 34-year-old Thomas John (TJ) Burke, of Mars, Pa., on Friday, February 1.

Burke was found guilty of one third-degree felony count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds by a jury trial in Venango County on Friday, November 16.

Details of the Case:

According to a criminal complaint, Burke is the owner and operator of Officers Down 5K, a management firm that helps run police charity events.

Burke was contracted to provide services as an exclusive event planner for the Officers Down 5k Run-Walk, held in Oil City on June 17, 2017. Burke was to receive a percentage of the event proceeds which totaled $13,365.50. The City of Oil City was to receive 20 percent of the total proceeds collected, with the agreed upon amount being $2,339.50.

Burke collected the money as part of his services and was to oversee the distribution of the funds. As part of the allocation process, Burke provided Officer Deloe, an agent on behalf of Oil City, a distribution schedule through his attorney.

This schedule indicated an initial, immediate payment in the amount of $250.00 on or about October 5, 2017. Three additional payments in the same amount were to be made on November and December 28, 2017, and January 28, 2018. A final payment in the amount of $1,339.50 was to be received by the city on February 1, 2018, according to the complaint.

One check was disbursed, but not cashed, dated October 28, 2017. Burke made no subsequent payments or attempts to make payments thereafter, the complaint states.

Burke’s attorney provided a breakdown of revenues and expenditures in an email dated October 9, 2017, on behalf of Burke. One of the expenditures itemized in the breakdown was “Timing” in the amount of $1,041.00.

Officer Deloe had a conversation with the owner of “Miles of Smiles Timing Services” on September 27, 2017. During their conversation, Officer Deloe learned that Burke never paid for the timing services that were used in the event. The company supplied Burke a bill due statement, indicating a balance of $400.00.

According to the complaint, based on documentation and statements by victims and by Burke, it is believed that Burke falsely stated the costs he paid for timing services, billing the city for an additional $641.00.

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