A Little Neck man who owns a Jackson Heights bingo hall has been accused of using licensed charitable organizations as a front to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars for more than three years, the Queens district attorney said last week.
Spiros Moshopoulos, 62, of 52-21 Brownvale Lane in Little Neck, was charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, money laundering, promoting gambling, possession of gambling records, tampering with a witness, conspiracy and scheme to defraud, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
Two other Queens residents were netted in the bust: Tommy Skiada, 49, of 23-18 35th St. in Astoria, and Daniella Radulescu, of 25-27 23rd St. in Astoria, the DA said.
“The defendants are accused of duping the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America into allowing them to run a bingo hall whose profits were supposed to go to charitable causes,” Brown said. “Instead of doing God’s work, however, the defendants are alleged to have lined their own pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars belonging to the charities.”
The three defendants were charged in a 714-count indictment with operating a bingo hall and using charities as a front to steal some $830,000 between January 2007 and February 2010 at Moshopoulos’ Spimos Enterprises Inc., which is at 82-18 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights, Brown said.
“This indictment sends a loud and clear message that unscrupulous activity in the name of registered charitable and religious organizations has serious consequences, including prison time,” said John Sabini, chairman of the state Racing and Wagering Board. “Bingo raises money for worthy causes. Stealing charitable game funds under the cloak of charity and religion are particularly objectionable crimes.”
If convicted, the defendants face up to 15 years in prison, the DA said.
Moshopoulos acted as president of Spimos Enterprises while Radelescu was a church officer and Skiada was a Spimos security officer, the DA said.
The defendants are alleged to have operated the bingo hall in the name of various inactive charities under the umbrella of the Romanian Orthodox Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen, which is at 25-27 23rd St. in Astoria. The church is under the direct canonical supervision of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The trio is accused of obtaining licenses illegally and using the charities as a front to siphon money from the gaming for their own profit, Brown said. Bingo games were allegedly conducted daily at the location by people posing as members of various charities.
In addition to the archdiocese, the defendants are also accused of cheating the city Consumer Affairs Department out of approximately $20,000 in fees.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2010 Community News Group
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