By Rebecca Henely
A Little Neck man and two Astoria residents pleaded guilty Monday to pocketing $830,000 raised through bingo games for Greek Orthodox Church charities, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
“Preying on charitable organizations who rely on the good faith of participants cooperating toward worthy causes is particularly low,” said Joseph D’Amico, the New York State Police superintendent, in a statement. “These convictions will bring these three unscrupulous individuals to justice for their crimes.”
Spiros Moshopoulos, 62, of Browvale Lane near 51st Avenue in Little Neck, said in his plea to Queens Supreme Court Justice Stephen Knopf that he operated a bingo hall through his corporation, Spimos Enterprises Inc., located at 82-18 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights, DA Richard Brown said. The daily games run at this hall were supposedly to fund inactive charities under the Romanian Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Astoria, the DA said.
But it was all a scam, Brown said.
Moshopoulos, as well as his Astoria compatriots 49-year-old Tommy Skiada of 35th Street near 23rd Avenue and 46-year-old Daniella Radulescu of 23rd Street near 25th Road obtained bingo licenses through illegal means, the DA said. They ran bingo games every day which were operated by people posing as members of different charities, then pocketed some of the cash, according to the district attorney.
These games were run between January 2007 and February 2010, the DA said.
In all, Moshopoulos stole $830,000 from the church through these games and also failed to pay the city Department of Consumer Affairs an estimated $20,000 in fees, the DA said.
Moshopoulos, Skiada and Radulescu pleaded guilty to grand larceny.
As part of the plea, Moshopoulos agreed to pay a total of $1 million: $830,000 in restitution to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which supervises the Astoria church, and an additional $170,000 in forfeiture, the DA said. He also agreed to dissolve Spimos Enterprises, the DA said. Furthermore, Moshopoulos, Skiada and Radulescu agreed as part of the plea to give up their licenses, the DA said.
Knopf plans to sentence the defendants to three-year conditional discharges, with all three of them at risk of being resentenced to up to 15 years in prison if they violate the terms of the plea, the DA said. The sentencing is set for April 6, the DA said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.