DOJ: Former Director Committed Fraud, Stole Funds
BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The former executive director of the Miss Florida Scholarship program is accused of creating a bogus side charity — using a similar name — and using that name to steal money from people who believed they were supporting the real “Miss Florida” program.
From the United States Department of Justice:
Today, the former Executive Director of the Miss Florida Scholarship Program made her first appearance in federal court in Miami to face a seven-count indictment charging her with defrauding corporate and individual program donors, including the Children’s Miracle Network and the Everglades Foundation.
Seventy-six-year-old Mary Wickersham (also known as Mary Sullivan and Mary Harvey) served as the Executive Director of the Miss Florida Scholarship Program, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that raises money to provide scholarships to young women through pageants. Wickersham had access to the pageant program’s financial information, as well as its sponsors and donors.
The indictment alleges the following: While serving as the Executive Director, and without notifying the Board of Directors of the Miss Florida Scholarship Program, Wickersham opened a company under the name “Miss Florida,” which she then used to open a business account at Bank of America. Wickersham solicited donations and contributions on behalf of the Miss Florida Scholarship Program from sponsors and donors. Rather than depositing donations into the organization’s legitimate bank account, Wickersham altered donor checks and deposited money into her “Miss Florida” account at Bank of America. Wickersham used the money to pay for her personal expenses, including utilities, shopping, home goods, maid cleaning service, online dating fees, and dining out, it is alleged.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Rick Swearingen, Commissioner for Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE); and Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, made the announcement.
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