Famous surfer with Asperger's syndrome lost life savings, house and was left deep in dept
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 February, 2017 - Last autumn the world learned that Maui free surfer Clay Marzo had been cheated out of nearly $400,000 by his bookkeeper. Marzo lost his house, all of his savings and was left stuck $30,000 in debt.
The U.S. Attorney’s office announced on Friday that Marzo’s book keeper, Felicidad Rivera, had admitted to wire fraud against Clay and his mother Jill’s company Cmarzo Inc. The guilty plea from Rivera could carry a sentance of five years in prison for each of the 13 counts of fraud against the Marzos. She will be sentenced on June 5, 2017.
Clay’s mother and business partner Jill Clark described Rivera as being trusted "like a family member." The guilty party was was given the duties of keeping books and handling all banking transactions for two Maui businesses operated by Jill and Clay.
The Maui News reported that from 2008 to 2015 the book keeper wrote nearly 200 unauthorized checks to herself for about $334,500 in total.
Clay Marzo © Carve Eyewear
Rivera’s thefting gig was discovered when Clark found charges to her Macy’s card for designer handbags - items she had not purchased. When Clark learned that the items had been shipped to Rivera’s address she contacted police.
The criminal investigation discovered that in addition to the checks the book keeper stole an additional $75,000 from their bank accounts and used Jill and Clay’s money to pay her own personal credit card bills. Rivera hid the transactions through phony entries into the company’s banking ledgers.
Clay Marzo is one of the internet's favorite surfers. He releases video clips throughout the year of his exploits at (mostly, but not limited to) heavy, ledging, left-hand reef waves. He has also become one of many public faces for Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. His journey inspired a documentary called Just Add Water. Clay rides for Carve and Superbrand and is currently residing in Western Australia.