Political News

Philadelphia mayor fires city's treasurer after he is arrested on federal charges

Posted September 25, 2020 8:03 p.m. EDT

— Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney fired the city's treasurer on Friday after he was arrested and federally indicted for embezzling money from clients at his previous job as a financial adviser. Christian Dunbar also faces allegations that he and his wife, identified in the criminal complaint as F.N.D., set up fake marriages when they were classmates at Temple University to become US citizens.

Prosecutors say Dunbar and his current wife each married the two other unidentified people within days of each other in December 2006 where a former Temple University professor was the officiant.

Dunbar, who previously worked at Wells Fargo, is charged with embezzlement by a bank employee, conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and fraudulent procurement of citizenship, US Attorney William McSwain said in a statement. If convicted, Dunbar faces a maximum possible sentence of 45 years in federal prison and a fine of $1.5 million.

Dunbar and his current wife were citizens of Liberia and Senegal, respectively, and used their marriages to become naturalized citizens, according to the complaint filed Friday. Dunbar became a US citizen in January 2016. His wife was not charged in this case, a spokeswoman with the US Attorney's office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania told CNN.

While he was an employee at Wells Fargo, prosecutors say, Dunbar signed off on bank withdrawal slips from the customer's account and deposited the funds into his personal account. McSwain's office says Dunbar allegedly stole $15,000 from two different customers in December 2015 and January 2016 -- weeks before he was appointed to the position as the City's Deputy Treasurer.

"The alleged conduct in this case shows a pattern of deception, dishonesty and criminality that no individual should ever engage in -- but is especially alarming and intolerable for a high-ranking City official," McSwain said in a statement. "City officials whose job is to handle money should not be thieves. And they should not have a track record of engaging in elaborate immigration fraud against the public that they are supposed to serve."

The mayor told CNN in a statement that the complaint against Dunbar did not include his work with the city.

"But in light of the allegations, his employment has been terminated effective immediately," Kenney said.

Still, Kenney said, he has asked Inspector General Alexander DeSantis, who works for the city, to "begin a thorough review of the City Treasurer's Office during the time of Dunbar's employment as both Deputy Treasurer and Treasurer."

"This review can help resolve any concerns about the Office's conduct and transactions during this period," he said.

Dunbar is expected to make an initial appearance in front of a magistrate judge either Friday or Tuesday. He does not have an attorney listed for him, according to online records.

First Deputy City Treasurer Jacqueline Dunn will serve as acting treasurer in the interim.

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