NEWARK--The owner and president of GAC Consulting Group LLC today admitted to his role in a scheme to defraud at least 17 charities and non-profit organizations, costing them more than $750,000 in losses from 2006 to 2010, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Gregory Ciccone, 36, of Woodland Park, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing false tax return, federal officials stated.
Ciccone contracted with charities and non-profit organizations and arranged for high-end prizes to be auctioned off to bidders during fundraising events.
These prizes included: a walk-on role on "Desperate Housewives" television show; tickets to the 2009 Tony Awards; an appearance by a celebrity cancer survivor and rounds of golf at the Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia, officials stated.
Ciccone convinced the charities and non-profit organizations to pay GAC both an up-front retainer and commission fees based upon his ability to provide certain prizes, authorities stated.
He did not deliver the vast majority of the prizes offered to his victims and never had the ability to do so.
A superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on May 15, 2012, charged Ciccone with mail fraud, wire fraud, and filing a false 2009 tax return, federal officials stated.
After his Oct. 26, 2010 arrest, Ciccone filed a false 2009 tax return on May 13, 2011, in which he failed to list certain retainer fees and commissions received from his victims, as well as gambling winnings.
As part of his plea, Ciccone agreed to pay back $267,778 in criminal forfeiture.
He is facing up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, state authorities.