MIAMI — A former leader of the Miss Florida Scholarship Program is accused of stealing at least $100,000 from the organization.
Mary Wickersham is 76 years old and formerly served as the organization’s executive director.
She faces a seven-count indictment for defrauding corporate and individual donors.
According to the indictment, in 2011, Wickersham created a company named “Miss Florida”, 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 business 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 says she spent the money on personal shopping, utilities, dining out, maid cleaning services and online dating fees.
Wickersham has turned herself in to the Miami Federal Detention Center.
In a statement on its website, the Miss Florida Scholarship program says, "The current Board of Directors is acting in concert with the appropriate legal authorities and with the national Miss America program with regard to this matter. We are in a strong fiscal position and are experiencing growing success in raising scholarship funds."
The case will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida.