After a man failed to steal a couple’s multimillion-dollar Florida home, he tried hiring a hitman to kill them so they couldn’t testify against him in court, federal prosecutors say. Now, a judge has sentenced him to 17 1/2 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
How it unfolded
A married couple learned they were no longer listed as the owners of their multi-million dollar Florida home when they received updated property tax information in August 2021, according to court documents.
Instead, a fake charity organization, “Aura Inc.,” was listed as the new owner of their Redington Shores estate, court documents say.
The couple then found a fraudulent warranty deed saying that they had granted ownership of their property to the organization for $500 — but they never did, according to a sentencing memorandum.
According to prosecutors, Alexander Leszczynski, of North Redington Beach, had used the fake charity organization to file the fraudulent warranty deed to try and transfer the home’s ownership to himself.
The harassment of the couple
Leszczynski is accused of stalking the married Florida homeowners “before they ever knew his name,” the sentencing memo filed by the government says.
When they filed a lawsuit against him to correct the deed to their home, Leszczynski responded by harassing them and their attorney representing them in the case through letters, emails and faxes, prosecutors said.
One letter threatened to file a false lien against the couple’s out-of-state residence, as well as saying “I don’t want to see your career go down the drain.”
The murder for hire plan
Leszczynski was charged with “deed fraud” in April 2022 in relation to his efforts to steal the couple’s home, prosecutors said.
In August 2022, while Leszczynski was incarcerated at Pinellas County Jail, the couple received a letter from an inmate, saying that Leszczynski offered him $45,000 to “help him hurt” them, according to the sentencing memo.
The inmate also wrote to the Assistant U.S. District Attorney of Leszcynski’s plan, the memo said, and later became a confidential informant for the government.
This inmate told the FBI that Leszczynski said the pending criminal fraud case against him “would have to be dropped if the (couple) were dead,” prosecutors said.
Leszczynski started speaking with an undercover agent posing as a hitman and offered the agent $30,000 to kill the couple, according to prosecutors.
In one phone call, the undercover agent asked Leszczynski if he was “good” with having the couple killed, according to his plea agreement.
“Yes,” Leszczynski said.
Leszczynski has been sentenced to 17 years and 6 months in prison on charges of murder for hire and obstruction of justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced in a Nov. 13 news release.
McClatchy News contacted Leszczynski’s defense attorney Ronald J. Kurpiers for comment on Nov. 13 and didn’t receive an immediate response.
In a sentencing memo submitted on Leszczynski’s behalf, Kurpiers wrote that his client was “remorseful and regretful” and his “conduct is the result of his lack of real-life experience and being naive.”
“I am just young and dumb,” Leszczynski has repeatedly said prior to his sentencing, according to Kurpiers.
Meanwhile, prosecutors wrote Leszczynski has had a “total lack of remorse” in the case and “demonstrates his continued dangerousness to the couple and the public” in their sentencing memo.
Leszczynski’s sentence for the charges of murder for hire and obstruction for justice will be served consecutively to a prior sentence he received in the fraud case, which involved “three different fraud schemes” — including his attempt to take over ownership of the couple’s home, prosecutors said.
In that case, Leszczynski is accused of filing several more “fraudulent warranty deeds purporting to deed to himself and his businesses 10 properties around the United States collectively valued at more than $300 million,” according to an earlier news release from the attorney’s office.
Redington Shores is about 15 miles northwest of St. Petersburg.