If Ed Mezvinsky, the disgraced father of Chelsea Clinton's newly-announced fiancé Marc Mezvinsky, attends his own son's wedding, he might want to consider ducking out before the reception. Mezvinsky was convicted in 2002 of bilking his associates, friends and family members -- even his own late mother-in-law -- out of millions of dollars. Despite being released in April 2008 after serving five years in prison, Mezvinsky remains on federal probation and still owes almost $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.
An ABC News investigation revealed that Mezvinsky, a former Democratic Congressman from Iowa, had been caught up in a series of Nigerian e-mail scams and began to steal from people to further his schemes.
"He was always looking for the home run. He was always trying to find the business deal that would make him as wealthy as all the people in his social circle," said federal prosecutor Bob Zauzmer. According to Zauzmer, Mezvinsky, who is now 72, will be on supervised release, the federal version of probation, until 2011.
ABC News was unable to reach Ed Mezvinsky for a response, but did reach his ex-wife Marjorie. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky refused to comment on whether or not her ex-husband would be attending their son's wedding, referring all questions to a Clinton family spokesperson. Margolies-Mezvinsky did confirm that no wedding date has yet been set.
Asked whether Ed Mezvinsky would be attending the wedding, a spokesperson for former President Bill Clinton said he didn't know. "I don't know anything at this point beyond the fact that they're engaged," Matt McKenna told ABC News in an e-mail.
In their heyday, Ed Mezvinsky and his then wife Marjorie, herself a former Democratic congresswoman from Pennsylvania as well as an ex-TV reporter, were part of the political and social elite in Philadelphia. The Mezvinskys were close to Bill and Hillary Clinton and were frequent guests at the White House. Prosecutors say Mezvinsky exploited his ties to the Clintons, including his son's relationship with Chelsea, to woo investors to contribute more money to his schemes.
Mezvinsky used those funds to travel to Nigeria to pursue one hare-brained scheme after another. He ultimately lost more than $3 million to the scammers, falling especially hard for the notorious "black money" scam, where victims are told millions of dollars have been coated with black ink so the money could be smuggled out of Nigeria. The scammers then offer to sell a special, expensive chemical to clean the ink off of the money. Prosecutors say Mezvinsky fell for at least three separate "black money" schemes.
Mezvinsky pleaded guilty to more than 30 counts of fraud, and was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison. He has blamed bipolar disorder for his behavior.
In an interview with Des Moines Register from prison in 2003, Mezvinsky said he found the scam convincing. "The man later came out with a chemical, threw it on the money, and it all turned to $100 bills. He gave me 10 to have them tested back home. And they were real," Mezvinsky told the Register.