He is also accused of disclosing proposal information to give a defense contracting company a competitive advantage. The Justice Department did not name the company in the news release.
Between 2009 and 2013, Podolske organized charity banquets and a golf outings in association with an annual conference put on by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. According to the release, Podolske took donations from contractors looking to work with the U.S. Air Force and the Pentagon. While he sent a portion of the funds to charities, he sent the vast majority of the donations to a personal bank account. He then “converted these charitable donations for his personal use to pay off credit card debt, pay for vacations and for gambling at Gulf Shore casinos,” the release said.
According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Podolske raised $164,000 in total, $133,000 of which he took for himself.
Citing the ongoing litigation, Air Force spokeswoman Erika Yepsen said it would be inappropriate to comment on the case.
Podolske solicited donations that ranged from $100 to $500 dollars and said they were intended for five different charities, the Journal Sentinel reported, including Toys 4 Tots and the Parkland Foundation Burn Camp. If convicted Podolske, will probably have to forfeit the amount of funds he embezzled from his fundraisers.
According to the Justice Department release, the case was investigated by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the FBI, the Defense Criminal Investigation Service and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.