National News

Ex-wife says Surrey murder victim conned her

By Keven Drews, The Canadian Press

SURREY, B.C. - A man murdered in Surrey, B.C., is well known to police on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border and he even appeared on a popular TV show about women who marry impostors after his ex-wife claimed she lost $50,000 to him.

Sheri Brown, a Lower Mainland real estate agent, said she was informed by police that her ex-husband, Timothy Szabolcsi, 52, had been found dead in his South Surrey home on Friday, less than a month and a half after their divorce was finalized.

"No matter how horrible of a person he was, there was some redeeming qualities about him at one time that I found attractive, but you'd never want to see anyone, you know, meet this end," she said.

"It's unfortunate that he couldn't have turned his life around and treated people in a normal and honest manner, and so I guess he just met the wrong person."

Sgt. Bari Imam of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Szabolcsi was from Manitoba and has a history with police involving frauds but he couldn't confirm any specific details.

Brown said in September 2013 she filmed an episode on "Dr. Phil" about women who married impostors. Szabolcsi appeared on the show by satellite link to defend himself.

According to the show's website, Szabolcsi said he understood they would pay for their wedding together. But after the relationship fell apart, he said he was told by Brown that he was responsible for all of it.

"I showed her how much money I had stashed, and I think she got upset about that because I was not willing to cash that in to pay off debt — debts that I feel are not mine,” he said on the show.

Szabolcsi said Brown ran to the media instead of coming to him after she learned about his business and legal problems in Texas.

The TV show's website identified one of his many aliases as Andrew J. Szadoic.

A Texas Medical Board bulletin published in January 2011 states a cease-and-desist order was issued against Szadoic from practising or impersonating a physician.

The same bulletin said that in 2003 Szadoic was indicted by the Rockwell County District Attorney for the theft of $30,000 from Texas Healthcare Systems.

He was convicted of felony theft, sentenced to five years in prison in October 2009 and was paroled in October 2010, the bulletin said.

Brown said she met the smooth-talking Szabolcsi in a pub in Delta, B.C., in 2012 and married him that September, but not before Googling his name and having him checked out by police. She said she later learned he had never been convicted under his real name.

Within two weeks of being married, she knew something was wrong because he had no money and suddenly had no job, said Brown.

"I covered the wedding and honeymoon and he kept saying there was money coming to help out with it and there was nothing so for six months I supported him."

Brown said she began to investigate Szabolcsi, and that's when she learned about his Texas conviction and that she was his fifth wife. She also discovered he had as many as six children.

She kicked him out at the end of March 2013, filed for divorce, and served him with papers in April 2013, she said.

Brown said she didn't hear from Szabolcsi again after she filmed the TV episode.

"You know it's a shock," she said of learning about his death. "I didn't think I'd have to deal with this all again. I just kind of got over it all and moved on with my life, and you know, then this happens ... my condolences go out to his family and his children."

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