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Leader of Flushing-based autism charity admits he defrauded Suffolk County residents, businesses out of thousands of dollars

May. 16, 2023 By Bill Parry

A Glendale man admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from multiple fund-raising vendors and donors on Long Island.

Gregory Vasicek, 60, the president of the Flushing-based charitable organization Play4Autism, pleaded guilty to the charge of scheme to defraud in the first degree for promising to pay thousands of dollars to various vendors, including Adventureland Amusement Park in Melville, for which he never paid.

According to the investigation and Vasicek’s admissions during his plea allocution, between April 21, 2022, and May 2, 2022, Vasicek wrote numerous checks from his charity’s bank account, while knowing that the funds in the organization’s account would be insufficient to pay for the services and property being purchased. Among the victims of the defendant’s scheme included a golf course and restaurant in Manorville and Adventureland. Despite repeated attempts to obtain payment from Vasicek by the vendors, the defendant never paid for the goods and services provided to him in connection with those purchases.

The investigation also revealed that Vasicek fraudulently solicited and received hundreds of dollars in registration fees for a golf outing that he represented to occur at the Manorville golf course on Oct. 19, 2022. No such outing was ever scheduled to take place on that date, or any subsequent date at that location.

“This defendant preyed upon the goodwill of Suffolk County residents and business owners under the guise of helping autistic children to benefit himself,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said. “My office will continue to hold accountable all those who manipulate, steal, and violate the public’s trust.”

Vasicek pleaded guilty on May 12 before Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Horowitz to the charge of scheme to defraud in the first degree, a Class E felony. He is due back in court for sentencing on July 6.

The Suffolk County DA’s office is asking anyone who suspects that they may have been defrauded by Vasicek or his Flushing-based charity to come forward and report such matters at 631-853-4626.

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