TAMPA — A Pinellas County man facing federal fraud charges has been indicted for hiring a ‘hitman’ to kill two government witnesses against him, prosecutors said.
Alexander Leszczynski, 23, of North Redington Beach, has been indicted on one count of murder-for-hire and one count of obstruction of justice. Leszczynski “promised to pay an individual to kill two people, identified as Victim 1 and Victim Two,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa.
Both people were witnesses in the government’s pending case against Leszczynski, who was indicted in April and arrested in May on a total of eight counts, including wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. The release did not include other details on the new charges.
The actions that led to the new charges happened in late August and early September, according to the indictment. The news release and indictment do not include other details on the investigation.
Each charge carries a prison term of up to 10 years. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Leszczynski is accused of using fictitious charitable entities — including one called Love & Bliss Inc. — to take part in a number of schemes, according to court documents and information previously released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
One fraud allegation included applying for and receiving two Payroll Protection Plan loans totaling about $196,000. He also was involved in a check kiting scheme and tried to deposit $2.7 million in worthless checks into the Love & Bliss business account, the government said.
After the launch of an investigation, the government seized $337,000 from one of Leszczynski’s accounts. When he found out the money had been frozen, Leszczynski “attempted to have it released by producing a fabricated pardon purportedly signed by former President Donald Trump,” according to U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg’s office.
The government said Leszczynski was involved in another scheme in which he tried to deed himself more than 10 properties around the country that were valued at more than $300 million. When the real owners of the properties and their lawyers tried to correct the fraudulent deeds, Leszczynski responded by sending harassing and threatening letters, emails and faxes, prosecutors said.
Leszczynski was arrested May 17 and is being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.
A 2021 story in the Daily Beast reported that Leszczynski’s Love & Bliss Inc. portrayed itself to be a Christian nonprofit that was trying to seize control of two properties that had belonged to Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The properties were Epstein’s since-demolished mansion in Palm Beach and a ranch in New Mexico, according to the Daily Beast report.
Leszczynski’s attorney has raised doubts that he is mentally competent to stand trial.
In a motion filed Oct. 13, attorney Ronald J. Kurpiers II asked the court to appoint a forensic psychologist to evaluate Leszczynski before the case proceeds. Kurpiers wrote that his interactions with Leszczynski raise “a very real concern” that his ability to assist in his defense and understand the charges and court procedures “are compromised and not of sufficient ability to move forward.”
Want breaking news in your inbox?
Subscribe to our free News Alerts newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
The motion noted that Leszczynski had already been evaluated once by a clinical psychologist, but that doctor told the court he was unable to render an opinion due to “a very high probability that Mr. Leszcynski was fabricating or exaggerating deficits in his intellectual and achievement abilities, and being disingenuous when discussing background information.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sean P. Flynn granted Kurpiers’ motion the next day, records show.
Kurpiers declined to comment Thursday.
Leszczynski’s case is scheduled for trial in the court’s December trial term.
Times staff writers Natalie Weber, Dan Sullivan and Chris Tisch contributed to this report.