Scripps Media Heir Convicted At Trial For Stealing Millions From Family
PHILADELPHIA – An heir to the Scripps Media fortune was convicted today by a federal jury in Philadelphia for embezzling $3.6 million from members of his family to fund his lavish lifestyle, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Michael Scripps, 36, of Detroit, was convicted of all seven counts of wire fraud in the Indictment against him in the third day of jury deliberations following a one and a half week trial. The case was prosecuted in Philadelphia by Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey as the former office was recused from the case.
According to the evidence at trial:
From November 2001 through October 2006, Michael Scripps persuaded his uncle and mother to transfer millions of dollars in trust funds to the Merrill Lynch Trust Co. and brokerage firm. With the assistance of Richard Gleeson, then a Merrill Lynch financial advisor in Media, Pa., Scripps used fraudulent authorizations to transfer his uncle’s and mother’s money to his own account at Merrill Lynch, resulting in $3.6 million in losses.
Gleeson awaits sentencing, having pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud for his participation in the scheme and testified at trial.
The jury heard testimony that Scripps used some of the ill-gotten gains to lead a playboy lifestyle, including by purchasing expensive jewelry including Tiffany earrings, a diamond ring, and Cartier necklace. He also used some of the stolen money to purchase a car for his girlfriend, four properties in New Orleans and for luxury travel across the U.S.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for July 15, 2013. Scripps could also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims as part of his sentence.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Philadelphia FBI, Newtown Square Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terri Marinari and L.C. Wright of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Defense counsel: Mark Durant Esq., Philadelphia; Paul W. Broschay Esq. and Michael R. Dezsi Esq., Detroit