Philadelphia Treasurer indicted by feds for embezzlement, fired by city

U.S. Attorney Williams McSwain on Sept. 14, 2020. (Dan Lee/NBC10)

U.S. Attorney Williams McSwain on Sept. 14, 2020. (Dan Lee/NBC10)

Philadelphia Treasurer Christian Dunbar was fired after being indicted by federal authorities Friday over alleged immigration and embezzlement schemes that predate his time as a civil servant.

United States Attorney William McSwain announced the battery of charges at a press briefing, accusing Dunbar of embezzling $15,000 while employed as a financial consultant at Wells Fargo three years ago. The U.S. Attorney separately accused the Liberian-born Dunbar of entering into a “sham” marriage to maintain residency.

Dunbar was appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney to serve as city treasurer in 2019, a position that involves oversight of city bonds and finances.

“We’ve alleged a long pattern of deception and fraud and dishonesty and poor judgement,” McSwain said. “And that concerns me a lot, if we can prove those charges, that someone like that was in a position of power.”

The indictment accused Dunbar of marrying an unnamed Temple University classmate while he was enrolled as a student for the purpose of obtaining citizenship. McSwain asserted that Dunbar then entered into a secretive second marriage to a Senegalese woman, later divorcing his first wife.

Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement distancing Dunbar’s work for the city from the allegations.

“The criminal complaint announced today does not involve Christian Dunbar’s work with the City of Philadelphia,” Kenney wrote. “At the same time, I have asked Inspector General Alexander DeSantis to begin a thorough review of the City Treasurer’s Office during the time of Dunbar’s employment as both Deputy Treasurer and Treasurer.”

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal