Feds Bust Philadelphia City Treasurer Who Claimed He Descended From Harriet Tubman, Charged With Fraud

Feds Bust Philadelphia City Treasurer Who Claimed He Descended From Harriet Tubman, Charged With Fraud

Philadelphia treasurer
Feds Bust Philadelphia City Treasurer Who Claimed He Descended From Harriet Tubman, Charged With Fraud Photo: City of Parkland

Philadelphia City Treasurer Christian Dunbar has been arrested and charged with a slew of criminal charges. Dunbar is originally from Liberia, where he had ties to the government as well as to an important African-American abolitionist. 

Dunbar’s maternal grandfather, William VS Tubman, was a direct descendant of Harriet Tubman. William served as the 19th president of Liberia for 27 years from 1944 until his death in 1971. He is widely regarded as “the father of modern Liberia,” The New York Post reported. 

Dunbar, 40, was charged with embezzlement by a bank employee, conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, and fraudulent procurement of citizenship, according to U.S. Attorney McSwain.

As the Philadelphia City Treasurer, Dunbar’s responsibilities included managing the city’s debt,its bank accounts, paying the city’s bills and  managing its cash reserves, according to The U.S. Department of Justice.

Dunbar allegedly participated in two schemes – bank embezzlement and marriage fraud so he could become a U.S. citizen, according to the criminal complaint.

The alleged bank embezzlement occurred weeks before his appointment as the city’s deputy treasurer and while he was employed at Wells Fargo Bank. The complaint charges he stole $15,000 from two different bank customers. 

On the sham marriage changes, Dunbar is accused of participating in a conspiracy to enter into a fake marriage in order to secure immigration benefits, and ultimately U.S. citizenship. The sham marriage dates back to Dunbar’s college days as a student and football player at Temple University.

While there, Dunbar met his current wife, who is referred to as “F.N.D.” in the criminal complaint. She first entered into a sham marriage with another person so she could gain citizenship. Dunbar married another woman through the same process to get his own citizenship, CBS News Philadelphia reported.

But Dunbar and F.N.D. were allegedly in a marital relationship for years and lived in the same West Philadelphia address before marrying other people. They also got married in Senegal, where F.N.D. is from, prior to their sham marriages and had children together. Despite this, they both “played out their sham marriages.”

If convicted, Dunbar faces a maximum possible sentence of 45 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $1.5 million.

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There was no wrongdoing found in Dunbar’s work with the city, according to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “But in light of the allegations, his employment has been terminated effective immediately. 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. This review can help resolve any concerns about the Office’s conduct and transactions during this period,” Kenney said in a statement.

Dunbar’s arrest came after an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.