May 20, 2022

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Woman spent $100K raised for Miss Florida scholarships on dating sites, maids, FDLE says


A woman who for far more than a 10 years collected donations to fund charities and scholarships for Pass up Florida pageant contestants in its place put in a lot more than $100,000 of that dollars on particular expenses from shopping sprees to online relationship expenses and maids.

On Tuesday, Mary Wickersham, 76, who also goes by the identify of Mary Sullivan or Mary Harvey, in accordance to the Florida Office of Legislation Enforcement, was arrested and charged with 7 counts of wire fraud. FDLE agents say Wickersham applied a very simple plan of diverting revenue into a lender account only she could accessibility.

They claimed she even misled a handful of charities, corporations and folks into donating money that she ended up retaining. Alleged victims contain the Everglades Basis, a single of the state’s largest environmental companies a smaller shop in Homestead named Anne Marie’s Boutique and the Children’s Wonder Community, a nonprofit that raises income for children’s hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. Also on the duped checklist, a previous Pass up Florida pageant winner only recognized as L.R.

“Ms. Wickersham not only stole charitable donations from the scholarship application, but also from two community charitable companies and a regional business affiliated with Skip Florida,” FDLE Miami Exclusive Agent in Demand Troy Walker explained in a ready statement. “Agents believe that the scam transpired in excess of many many years.”

In the six-website page federal indictment, investigators claimed Wickersham fashioned a fraud company referred to as Skip Florida LLC and used it to open up an account with Bank of The us back again in 2011. She designed the corporation devoid of the expertise of the genuine program’s board of directors, according to the indictment.

She utilized the money, according to federal prosecutors, on individual fees that provided utilities, buying sprees, dinners, household merchandise, for eating out, even to spend an on the net relationship payment and employ a home cleaning support.

Representatives of the Miss out on Florida pageant had not returned interview requests by late Tuesday afternoon. It was not promptly clear if Wickersham experienced retained an attorney.

FDLE brokers said Wickersham, the executive director of the Pass up Florida Scholarship Software, worked as a volunteer, approaching people today and asking them to donate for the deserving cause. The FDLE started seeking into Wickersham following becoming instructed by anyone at the Overlook Florida Scholarship Software that funds was lacking.

Wickersham turned herself in at the Miami Federal Detention Heart Tuesday early morning. The U.S. Attorney’s Workplace for the Southern District of Florida will prosecute the circumstance.



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