POMONOK, Queens (PIX11) — The treasurer of a Queens bowling league allegedly pocketed funds collected for prize money and team dues, blowing the cash on pricey purchases and casino jaunts, prosecutors charged in a grand larceny indictment.
Robert Vickers, 59, faced a Queens judge Tuesday on a 21-count indictment that also included allegations of criminal possession of stolen property, scheming to defraud, and petit larceny. He pleaded not guilty and was released without bail, according to online court records.
Vickers, of Manhattan, served as the treasurer and secretary for the 2019-2020 season of the Ted Guy Memorial League, which bowls at JIB Lanes on Parsons Boulevard in Pomonok, prosecutors said in a Wednesday news release.
In that role, Vickers was responsible for collecting weekly dues from members of the 120-person league, with the funds earmarked for prize money as well as assorted bowling expenses. He was expected to deposit the funds into a bank account in the league’s name, and pay out prize money at the conclusion of the season, prosecutors said.
When the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the season to end prematurely in March 2020, team captains voted to pay out prizes based on the standings to that point, and refund dues paid in advance of unplayed games, officials said. But the captains said that Vickers never paid out the teams, claiming that the bank account was frozen, according to authorities.
In actuality, Vickers used the funds for expensive personal purchases, as well as to bankroll gambling at casinos both in New York and Atlantic City, prosecutors allege.
“As alleged, the defendant took advantage of not only his position in the league, but of a global pandemic to line his pockets with funds reserved for official league activities,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz in a prepared statement. “The defendant has been apprehended and faces serious charges.”
Prosecutors did not specify how much money is alleged to have been stolen.
Vickers, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, is due back in court on December 13.