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EX-BUCKS FUND-RAISER SENTENCED TO JAIL IN CHARITY FRAUD SCHEME

 EX-BUCKS FUND-RAISER SENTENCED TO JAIL IN CHARITY FRAUD SCHEME
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- A former Bucks County professional fund-raiser was sentenced to prison and his wife was placed on probation after they pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from their operation of a phony telephone solicitation scheme.
 "The defendants misled business people into believing they were contributing to local fraternal organizations by buying advertising in yearbooks and other publications," Preate said.
 "But our investigation determined that some of the purported publications didn't exist, and little -- if any -- of the contributions reached the organizations for which they were intended."
 Preate said Harry Weiss, 51, of Pompano Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty before Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Kenneth G. Biehn to charges of running a corrupt organization, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and conspiracy.
 Judge Biehn sentenced Weiss to 4-23 months in prison, to be followed by five years' probation, and ordered him to pay approximately $23,000 in restitution and fines.
 Florence Weiss, 48, who formerly operated Paragon Publications Inc., Huntingdon Valley, with her husband, pleaded guilty to theft and conspiracy charges and was sentenced to seven years' probation and ordered to pay approximately $18,000 in restitution and fines.
 Three solicitors who worked for Paragon also pleaded guilty today to theft and conspiracy counts. Judge Biehn sentenced John McBurney, 35, of Philadelphia; Rudy Muller Sr., 48, of Ivyland, and Marty Shmerelson, 63, of Philadelphia, to serve three years' probation and to pay restitution in amounts to be determined.
 Four other Paragon solicitors pleaded guilty to theft and conspiracy counts in December. Two of them, Hal Berman, 40, and Richard Hershman, 45, both of Philadelphia, were sentenced today to three years' probation and restitution in an amount to be determined.
 Sentencing is pending for the remaining defendants, Alan Haftel, 45, of Bensalem, and Jack McAndrew, 32, of Havertown.
 Preate's office charged that Paragon employees posing as police, fire fighters or members of various fraternal organizations called business people and attempted to sell them ads in various publications.
 "Prospective contributors were falsely told that advertising revenues would be used for such things as local drug and alcohol programs or to purchase bullet proof vests for local police," Preate said.
 The charges resulted from a joint investigation conducted by Preate's Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Section and the Philadelphia Police Department's Headquarters Investigation Unit, with the assistance of the Attorney General's Charitable Trusts and Organizations Section.
 Deputy Attorney General Lois H. Lichtenwalner served as prosecutor.
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 /CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis of the Office of Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or at home, 717-657-9840/ CO: Office of Attorney General ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MK -- PH032 -- 6282 02/03/92 15:10 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 3, 1992
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