President of NYC autism charity allegedly defrauded multiple businesses

The head of an autism charity in Queens is accused of stiffing a golf course, a restaurant and an amusement park on Long Island of thousands of dollars, authorities said. He is also accused of raking in hundreds of dollars in registration fees from donors for a golf outing that never happened.

Gregory Vasicek, president of the charitable organization Play4Autism, has been arrested and accused of promising to pay thousands of dollars to various vendors for goods and services for which he never paid.

A complaint says between April 21 and May 2, the 59-year-old wrote numerous checks from the charity’s bank account to vendors, but while knowing the funds in the account would be insufficient to pay for the services and property being purchased, authorities said.

"This defendant allegedly took advantage of the goodwill and generosity of Suffolk County residents to benefit himself," said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney. "My office is committed to prosecuting all those who steal, but thefts committed under the guise of a charity to benefit autistic children are particularly loathsome."

A golf course and restaurant in Manorville, as well as an amusement park in Melville, were among the victims of the scheme, authorities said. County officials say Vasicek never paid for the goods and services provided to him, despite repeated attempts to obtain payment from the defendant by the vendors.

Court filings show Vasicek fraudulently solicited and received hundreds of dollars in registration fees from donors for a golf outing that he represented would occur at the Manorville golf course on Oct. 19., but no such outing was ever scheduled to take place on that date or any date at the location.

Vasicek is charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, among other charges. He was arraigned in first district court in Central Islip today and released. His next scheduled court date is Nov. 28.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who suspects they may have been defrauded by Vasicek or his charity to come forward and report such matters to contact (631) 853-4626.