Ex-pageant leader charged with stealing $100,000
MIAMI — A former executive of the Miss Florida scholarship program is accused of stealing at least $100,000 from the organization.
Mary Wickersham is 76 and was previously the organization’s executive director.
She faces a seven-count indictment for defrauding businesses and individual donors.
According to the indictment, in 2011 Wickersham started a company named “Miss Florida” and then opened a business bank account under that name.
She is accused of soliciting donations for the scholarship program and depositing the money into the company’s account.
Some of the money came from the Children’s Miracle Network, which raises money for hospitals and the Everglades Foundation.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said she spent the money on personal purchases, utilities, restaurants, cleaning services and online dating fees.
Wickersham surrendered to the Federal Detention Center in Miami.
In a statement on its website, the Miss Florida Scholarship Program says, “The current Board of Trustees is acting in concert with the appropriate legal authorities and with the National Miss America Program in regard to this matter. We are in a strong fiscal position and are enjoying increasing success in raising scholarship funds.”
The case will be prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida.