Former Miss Florida executive director stole $100K in donations, FDLE says

FILE PHOTO: Generic handcuffs
FILE PHOTO: Generic handcuffs(MGN)
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 5:29 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it has arrested the former executive director of the Miss Florida Scholarship Program on seven counts of wire fraud.

According to FDLE, Mary Wickersham worked as executive director on a volunteer basis. She would approach people and ask for donations to the scholarship program, the press release says.

FDLE says it started investigating the case after the Miss Florida program reported missing funds.

The investigation showed Wickersham formed a scam Florida corporation named “Miss Florida LLC” in Dec. 2011 without the board of directors finding out. FDLE says she then used that scam corporation to open a bank account only she can access.

“Wickersham began depositing some donations into the scam account and used the funds for her personal benefit,” the press release says.

FDLE also discovered Wickersham added “Miss Florida Pageant” on donation checks meant for the Children’s Miracle Network, which allowed her to deposit those funds into her scam account. Agents estimate she stole at least $100,000 in donations, the release says.

“Ms. Wickersham not only stole charitable donations from the Scholarship Program, but also from two local charitable organizations and a local business affiliated with Miss Florida,” FDLE Miami Special Agent in Charge Troy Walker said. “Agents believe the scam occurred over several years.  I appreciate the detailed work of our FDLE agents on this case and the assistance of the US Postal Inspection Service and US Attorney’s Office.”

Wickersham turned herself in Tuesday morning to the Miami Federal Detention Center. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida will prosecute this case.

FDLE’s release says Wickersham also went by the aliases of Mary Harvey and Mary Sullivan.

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