Clay Marzo. PHOTO: Carey
Clay loses his wallet. Sorry, had to. Photo: Tom Carey.

Bad news on the Marzo front.

A Maui bookkeeper by the name of Felicidad Rivera has been charged with 13 counts of wire fraud against Clay Marzo. In nearly a decade of working for Marzo, Rivera is alleged to have stolen more than $400,000 by writing herself 193 checks from his account and paying more than $75,000 off her credit card using Marzo’s funds.

Her indiscretions have led to Clay losing his home and being indebted by $30,000. Clay’s mother, Jill Marzo Clark, also lost a substantial amount of cash in the fallout. Court documents state that Jill and Clay were unable to monitor Rivera’s misdeeds due to mental disabilities including dyslexia (Jill) and Asperger’s Syndrome (Clay). Rivera has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bail was set at $50,000.

"It's been a year of trying to get to this point," Jill Clark told reporters. "It's bittersweet; it's awful that she did what she did because she was like a family member. She was close with us and worked with me for a long time.
"I hope that it all goes the right way, but it still doesn't feel good. I've been sick to my stomach since Friday when she was arrested."

One can only imagine how Clay is feeling right now. Photo: Mike Riley

It twists my innards to learn that Clay Marzo is being taken advantage of. To blatantly steal something is bad, but to embezzle funds from a person with a certified mental disability is a special kind of low. Assuming Rivera is guilty, and most pieces of evidence point that way, I’m sure she’s a very unhappy person potentially with a drug problem and many cats. I can’t imagine any sane, sober human would do something like this to a client of nearly 10 years. Beyond the morality of the situation, you have to know you’re going to get caught, right? When you siphon all of your client’s funds to the point of bankruptcy, they’re going to ask where all the money went. What was your next move, anyway, Felicidad?

If the world is remotely fair (and it ain’t), this problem will be resolved with Clay and Jill as the recipients of their money plus compensation and Rivera as the recipient of an orange jumpsuit and a mystery casserole served three times daily. We’ll keep you updated.

2006: Clay Marzo, Mentawais // Hard to imagine after every 36 frames you'd have to swim back to the boat for more film. So annoying with waves this good.
Clay in 2006, before he met Felicidad Rivera. Happier times to be sure. Photo: Jimmicane