Philadelphia Treasurer Christian Dunbar was fired Friday after being charged with fraudulently obtaining United States citizenship through marriage and embezzlement from a prior job.
Dunbar, who was appointed city treasurer in 2019, was promptly fired from his position by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney just minutes after federal authorities announced his arrest, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. As city treasurer, Dunbar oversaw Philadelphia's $4 billion investment portfolio and managed the city's debt obligations, bank accounts, and cash reserves.
Federal prosecutors allege that Dunbar, a Liberian immigrant, obtained American citizenship via a false marriage to a legal U.S. citizen, who had sponsored him for a green card in 2009. The couple divorced just two months after Dunbar obtained citizenship status in January of 2016, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Dunbar and his current wife secretly wed in Senegal in 2013 while he was still legally married, the Inquirer reported.
While at his previous job as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo Bank in Newton Square, Pa., Dunbar allegedly stole $15,000 from two different bank customers in December 2015 and again in January 2016, according to the press release.
“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,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain, who announced the charges, said in the press release.
Though Dunbar was not accused of conducting fraud during his role as treasurer, the Inquirer reported that Kenney has instructed Philadelphia Inspector General Alexander DeSantis to initiate a review of the treasurer’s office during Dunbar’s tenure as both deputy treasurer and treasurer. City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart initiated another review into "financial matters" separate from the federal investigation, the Inquirer reported.
If convicted, Dunbar could face a maximum of 45 years in prison and a $1.5 million dollar fine, according to the press release. First Deputy City Treasurer Jacqueline Dunn will serve as interim treasurer, Kenney said in a statement on Friday.