- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - A Maui woman has denied embezzling more than $400,000 from a surfer and his mother while working as their bookkeeper.

Felicidad Rivera, 51, pleaded not guilty to wire fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Honolulu on Monday. She was ordered held on $50,000 bail.

An indictment alleges Rivera wrote herself nearly 200 checks from January 2010 to October 2015 totaling more than $330,000 from the accounts of Clay Marzo and his mother, Jill Marzo Clark. Authorities also say she paid more than $75,000 of her credit card charges from Marzo’s account during that time.

Rivera’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Clark and her son had difficulty monitoring Marzo’s activities because of their disabilities, according to court documents. Marzo has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, and Clark has severe dyslexia.

Clark said the 27-year-old surfer has lost his home and was left $30,000 in debt.

“It’s really impacted Clay greatly so I’m trying my best to get him squared away,” Clark told The Maui News (https://bit.ly/2en3gli). “I’m hoping somehow we get some money back, but I don’t know how that’s going to happen.”

Marzo won his first National Scholastic Surfing Association national title at age 10. He has surfed in different parts of the world, including Indonesia, Fiji, Tahiti, South Africa, Australia and Europe.

Clark said her son was once “riding in the prime of surfing” with a group of talented Maui surfers, such as Dusty Payne and Ian Walsh. But Marzo hasn’t been competing as much lately because of his condition, but he “still has some hope,” she said.

“He is the epitome of a soul surfer,” Clark said.


Information from: The Maui News, https://www.mauinews.com

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