Delco D.A.: Pol stole $3M from employer, gambled it away

Posted: January 31, 2014

JAMES BRYAN never lacked ambition.

He landed a job at Wescott Electric when he was 18 and worked his way up to the position of senior project manager. He was elected to the Collingdale Borough Council in 1994 and chaired its finance committee for the last 13 years.

Last year, Bryan, 45, even ran for a magisterial district judgeship in the Delaware County town.

Apparently, no one noticed, until recently, that the guy is allegedly a major crook with an out-of-control gambling habit.

Bryan was arrested yesterday for embezzling nearly $3 million - possibly significantly more - from Wescott over the last 11 years and blowing it on sports betting, scratch-off lottery tickets and at the card tables at Harrah's Philadelphia casino in Chester, authorities said.

"They took him as a teenager under their wing and they trusted him," said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. "He was like part of the Wescott family, and he substantially and severely breached that trust."

Whelan said Bryan was able to drain millions from the Aston Township company since 2003 with a few fairly simple schemes. He allegedly wrote phony invoices and cashed the checks in Philadelphia, and bought huge spools of copper wire and sold it as scrap.

"He has cashed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of checks," Whelan said. "He knew the weaknesses of the employer."

Bryan was charged with theft and forgery. Whelan said there is no evidence that he embezzled any public funds.

Bryan, a Republican, stepped down as Collingdale Council vice president in October and lost the judicial election in November. He declined to comment yesterday as detectives led him out of the Delaware County courthouse.

On Twitter: @wbender99


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