SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Florida man KRQE News 13 exposed in an investigation for fraudulently filing deeds for Jeffrey Epstein’s New Mexico ranch is now accused of hiring a hitman to cover up his federal crimes.
Mystery, money, and sex scandals surround the sprawling Zorro Ranch near Stanley, New Mexico, once owned by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Records show Epstein and the Zorro trust bought the ranch from the Gary King family, then built a mansion there in the 1990s.
“One can only speculate and I have to tell you, Gabrielle, my staff – this has been a difficult topic for us to tackle, thinking about what state land might have been used for,” Stephanie Garcia Richard, New Mexico’s Land Commissioner, told KRQE News 13 during an interview in 2021. In 2019, she canceled the decades-long state lease agreement the state had with Epstein for grazing land.
The billionaire’s 33,339 square-foot mansion has sat empty since Epstein’s death in a correctional facility three years ago. And in a bizarre twist last year, KRQE Investigates uncovered a mysterious warranty deed attached to the property.
KRQE News 13 found Epstein’s $27.5 million Zorro ranch had a fake deed attached to it filed by ‘Love and Bliss Church’ in Santa Fe County. “It’s the same people that filed a fraudulent warranty deed in Florida,” said Daniel Weiner, an attorney for Epstein’s estate.
The man behind the fake deed is 24-year-old Florida resident Alexander Leszczynski. Florida records show he was arrested years ago for stalking and battery.
Federal indictment, Murder-for-hire
Then in April, he was indicted on eight counts of federal charges, including wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. Court records show he used fake charitable entities like Love and Bliss Church to try and deed himself expensive properties across the country, including Epstein’s New Mexico and Palm Beach properties.
“They think that they can get in and maybe start selling off pieces and portions of it and get away with it, and then it would just perpetuate the fraud because new innocent owners would come in, give these people money, and then be part of this scheme and not actually own that,” explained Mary Carmack-Altwies, the Santa Fe District Attorney. “So I think it’s great that you caught it because, hopefully, you’ve stopped it in its tracks,” Carmack-Altwies told KRQE last year.
A federal indictment shows Leszczynski also took advantage of the government’s small business pandemic assistance loan program and was awarded at least two paycheck protection program (PPP) loans in 2020 and 2021. The first PPP loan awarded to Love and Bliss was for $97,700, and another for $98,210.
Investigators claim Leszczynski tried to deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in worthless checks into accounts he operated. Then Thursday, the federal government announced Leszczynski attempted to hire a hitman to kill two witnesses in his case.
He’s now facing murder-for-hire and obstruction of justice charges. Leszczynski is being held without bail in a Florida jail pending his trial.
Leszczynski faces 20 years in federal prison for his two most recent charges. His defense attorneys asked the court for a psychological evaluation to see if he’s fit to stand trial, which is scheduled for December.