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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Former Executive Director of Miss Florida Scholarship Program Indicted for Fraud

Miami, Florida – 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.

FDLE and USPIS Miami investigated the matter.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Yara Klukas is prosecuting the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Klco is handling asset forfeiture.

Charges contained in an indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 22-cr-20057.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Marlene Rodriguez Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Public Affairs Officer USAFLS.News@usdoj.gov
Updated February 22, 2022