Last year it was reported that Clay Marzo’s long time bookkeeper Felicidad Rivera had allegedly stolen almost $400k from him and his family, causing Clay to lose his home and his life savings.
Back in February, following a long and expensive court battle, Rivera was sentenced to 35 months in jail after pleading guilty to 13 counts of wire fraud, however she is yet to turn herself in to begin her sentence. The court also ordered that Rivera repay $373,182 to Clay and his mother.
“This has been two years of thousands and thousands of dollars in attorney fees, and I’m not going to get even half of what I’ve spent,” Clay’s mother Jill Marzo Clark told The Maui News. “But I wanted to look her in the eyes, and I wanted my son to know that I didn’t just roll over and let someone do this to us.”
Clay, who has Asperger’s syndrome, had been employing family friend Rivera to look after his finances for almost 10 years. Over the course of that time she syphoned off huge amounts to pay off her credit card debt and send money to her relatives. Clay’s mum Jill first smelled a rat when she noticed a credit card charge for a designer bag, which she had not purchased. After some investigating, she was horrified to discover the full scale of the deception perpetrated by what she thought was a trusted family friend.
Clay’s reaction when his mother first broke the news to him stands as a real testament to his good nature:
“I told him . . . she took pretty much all of your money and put you in debt and took a lot of my money. Most people would’ve been outraged and yelling, but he looked at me and he said, ‘Well, she must have needed it.’’ Clark recounted in an interview with the Maui News.
As noted in Marzo’s signature film ‘Just Add Water’, released in 2008, Clay struggles with competing due to his Aspereger’s and since getting dropped by Quiksilver, has found it difficult to find the level of major backing he deserves. However, his most recent edits show, that he remains as talented as ever.
We hope that the sentencing will provide some closure for Clay and his mum, and the cash injection will allow both of them to bounce back financially.
Cover photo: Swilly / Rockstar Energy