Former Ponte Vedra Resident Sentenced to Nine Years for Fraud
JACKSONVILLE, FL—Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger has sentenced Mark Steven Szekely (54, Ponte Vedra) to nine years in federal prison for wire fraud. The Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $454,972.65, the traceable proceeds of the offense, and ordered him to pay restitution to his victims in the same amount. Szekely pleaded guilty on October 14, 2014.
According to court documents and testimony presented during the sentencing hearing, Szekely conducted a scheme to defraud others in which he swindled at least 17 individuals out of $454,972.65. Among the victims were his friends, members of his church, his children’s teachers, and a 17-year-old high school student who had saved money from babysitting. As part of his scheme, Szekely represented that he was an accomplished author with connections to entertainment lawyers in New York City that could assist the victims with copyrighting, publishing, and/or producing their works into Broadway plays or films. In reality, Szekely had no such connections, and instead, fraudulently created a list of fictitious lawyers and other professionals. In addition, several of the victims were defrauded into investing in “annuities” tied to a book Szekely had written and was allegedly being produced into a movie. Court testimony established that Szekely had not worked for approximately 12 years and had supported himself and his family with the proceeds of his fraud.
This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark B. Devereaux.