St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown was one of several parishes in Westchester that was the victim of a fraudulent scheme of a Las Vegas travel agent who was charged earlier this month with stealing more than $220,000 in connection with the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day last year.
According to a complaint unsealed September 13 in White Plains federal court, Vincent Maffucci, 77, collected more than $240,000 from parishes for a tour he had organized to Europe, but instead of using the money to pay for trip-related expenses, he used more than $220,000 for his own personal expenses.
“Mr. Maffucci allegedly capitalized on the trust these organizations placed with him to get their youth to the faith-filled world event,” said Phillip R. Bartlett, Inspector in Charge of the New York Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, who filed the charges with Joon Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
“He betrayed the trust of the faith community when he allegedly spent money to satisfy his personal needs, then lied about their refunds,” Bartlett continued. “Mr. Maffucci, however, got his first taste of karma when postal inspectors and their law enforcement partners uncovered his alleged faithless crimes, placed him under arrest and brought him before a Federal Magistrate Judge to answer to fraud charges.”
Of the money Maffucci collected through his ITC Tours business, only $11,226 was spent on the trip, which he cancelled a month before it was scheduled, citing, among other reasons, concerns about terrorism. Kim and Bartlett stated Maffucci promised full refunds to those who had already paid, but to date, most of the tour participants were not reimbursed.
Maffucci allegedly spent approximately $43,000 on dining, fuel and clothing. In addition, he withdrew more than $94,000 in cash and made transfers totaling more than $83,000 to other bank accounts he controlled.
If convicted of mail fraud, Maffucci could face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.