Ex-wife of man charged in $1.5 million
Quincy real estate scheme arrested in Florida
BOSTON – The ex-wife of a man who was a fugitive for 20 years until his arrest in April 2017, has been charged with lying about the whereabouts of her former spouse prior to his arrest.
Cecily Sturge, 69, of Delray Beach, Fla., has been charged with making a materially false statement to a federal agent about the whereabouts of her ex-husband, Scott J. Wolas, who had been a fugitive for 20 years in connection with a New York investment scheme until his arrest in April 2017. Wolas has also been charged in federal court in Boston with operating an unrelated fraudulent $1.5 million real estate investment scheme in Quincy, Mass. Sturge is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida today.
According to court documents, a federal investigation into Wolas began in early September 2016 when Wolas fled Massachusetts after defrauding at least 19 investors of about $1.5 million in connection with his purported efforts to develop two Quincy properties, including the site of the former Beachcomber Bar. Sturge was interviewed by law enforcement on Nov. 17, 2016, during which time she stated that her most recent contact with her ex-husband had been about 15 years prior. Sturge maintained her answer, despite evidence of contact between her cell phone and one known to belong to Wolas that demonstrated more recent communication between the two.
After further investigation, Wolas was arrested on April 7, 2017, in a condo he was renting in Delray Beach, Fla. Investigators learned that Wolas had first rented the condo from Nov. 12 through Nov. 21, 2016, through an online rental website in the name of Cecily Sturge. Messages exchanged between the condo owner and Sturge were also discovered, that depicted a photo of Sturge and messages indicating that Wolas (using the name Cameron Sturge) was Sturge’s brother and a retired paleontologist in need of a place to stay. The owner of the condo told authorities that Sturge and Wolas arrived at the condo together in the same car on Nov. 12, 2016, five days before Sturge’s interview with law enforcement.
Sturge was divorced from Wolas in 2001 by default judgment in Palm Beach County, Fla. In February 2017, Sturge filed a petition to modify the judgment in order to obtain the contents of Wolas’ retirement account, which had a balance of approximately $647,000, from the New York law firm where he worked prior to being indicted in 1997 by New York authorities. In pleadings filed in February and March 2017 in that matter, Sturge swore that Wolas’s whereabouts were unknown to her, despite telephone records showing frequent contact between the two. In addition, copies or drafts of documents filed in the Florida proceeding were also found in the room and on a thumb drive taken from the room where Wolas was arrested.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; and Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra S. Bower of Weinreb’s Criminal Division and David G. Lazarus and Brendan Mockler of Weinreb’s Civil Division are prosecuting the case.