SEBRING - Nothing initially appeared wrong when a Sebring woman bought a house and then sold it, with the proceeds going to her husband and part of the money being put in his investment account, according to a probable cause affidavit released Friday.
The problem discovered later, authorities said, was that the wife, Marlie Westervelt, bought the house using some of the nearly $1 million she was accused of stealing from the Sebring Heart Center, where she was the office manager.
On Thursday, her husband, George R. Mezori Jr., 45, 1501 Divot Court, Sebring, was arrested by the Highlands County Sheriff's Office and charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft involving more than $100,000, money laundering involving more than $100 and grand theft over $100,000. Authorities said that Mezori knew or should have known the money was stolen.
Westervelt was arrested in April and accused of stealing nearly $1 million between January 2008 and August 2012. An affidavit alleged that Westervelt stole about $936,000 using differing means, including $196,010.98 in unauthorized personal checks, $36,499.71 in checks involving her son, $3,428.38 in checks involving her husband, $25,000 in unauthorized transfers of money, $498,532 in unauthorized credit card purchases, $82,290.84 in unauthorized payroll benefits for herself and $82,082.66 in unauthorized payroll benefits for her husband.
Some of the money was used to buy the house and a portion of it paid off her son's student loans, the affidavit said.
The affidavit charging Mezori alleged that Mezori and Westervelt both sold the house for about $109,000 and that the money was placed into Mezori's account. Subsequently, $50,000 of that went into his "TD Ameritrade" account, the affidavit said.
During a hearing earlier this month, Mezori wanted to use the money in the Ameritrade account to help provide bond for his wife, the affidavit said. Mezori testified that the account contained money from his salary while working at Sebring Heart Center and from the proceeds of the sale of an Orlando home, the affidavit said.
"Mezori did not advise the court of the recent sale of the Greenwood Terrace home (the home sold for about a $109,000); nor did he advise that he had transferred $50,000 into his TD Ameritrade account," the affidavit said.
Mezori either knew or should have known that the $50,000 came from the sale of the house bought by money stolen from the heart center, the affidavit said.
The State Attorney's Office has obtained an order to freeze the assets in the Ameritrade account.