Ponte Vedra man charged with stealing from Catholic charity
By WOKV News Team
Jacksonville, FL —
An 80-year-old Ponte Vedra man could face 180 years in prison for charges he defrauded money from the sick and poor.
We’ve learned Herschel F. Smith, Jr. has been charged with nine counts of wire fraud taking place between 2005 and 2012.
Prosecutors say during that time, Smith was the treasurer of Malta Projects of Southeastern Florida, Inc- a non-profit affiliated with a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. The organization would primarily perform charitable acts supporting the sick and poor.
As treasurer, Smith was able to sign on the bank accounts and would receive bank statements. Prosecutors say he would make “material omissions” and “materially false and fraudulent representations” about withdraws on behalf of the charity in order to profit personally.
Smith appeared in court yesterday. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count facing him.
He is not affiliated with the local chapter of this charity.