The ousted leader of a Jamaica-based nonprofit organization has admitted to stealing the group’s funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.
Yolanda Vitulli, 53, formerly of Merrick, Long Island, and recent resident of Mohnton, PA, pleaded guilty to federal charges of embezzling public funds. She previously served for 15 years as executive director of Tender Care Human Services, which is dedicated to providing services to autistic individuals and persons with developmental disabilities.
According to State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, Vitulli embezzled $100,000 in funds allocated to Tender Care Human Services between 2009 and May 2014. She instead brought these stolen proceeds home to pay housekeepers and purchase a hot tub, high-end furniture, security cameras and fencing.
“[Vitulli] greedily preyed on some of New York’s most vulnerable citizens to subsidize her own life of luxury,” Scott said in a statement. “Anyone who exploits the developmentally disabled and steals taxpayer funds will be identified, apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Vitulli entered her plea in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn and is scheduled to return there in February for sentencing.