MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island financial planner was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison Wednesday, after stealing more than $1 million meant for a Lido Beach special needs camp.
As CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported, Drew Morgan was tight-lipped as he left Nassau County Court, sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison for embezzling $1.8 million. His main target was a nonprofit that benefits people with special needs — including his own daughter.
“Stealing obviously is always wrong, but stealing from these victims — stealing from special needs children; stealing from special-needs adults; stealing from the elderly — is so despicable and so heartless,” said Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
The DA said investigators uncovered the scam while investigating Morgan for stealing $475,000 from two elderly sisters while acting as their financial planner.
They then found from February 2008 through January 2013, he embezzled nearly $1.3 million from two charities that help fund Camp A.N.C.H.O.R. — short for Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation.
As the father of a camper, Morgan was treasurer of both funds.
Prosecutors said Morgan used the stolen money to pay for a Hempstead golf club membership, plane tickets, hotel stays, and other personal expenses.
“We were totally shocked; crying,” said Helen McDonell, who is the parent of a camper and who worked with Morgan on the financial committee. “We didn’t know what to do initially. We couldn’t believe that somebody would do this to the disabled — including his own daughter.”
“It really came out of nowhere,” said Anna Dragone, a board member who is also the parent of camper. “You know, we just never thought that one of us would actually do this.”
But Morgan’s lawyer said while his client did a horrible thing, he’s not a horrible person, adding:
“He’s been a great father to special needs daughter, and the circumstances were such that he took this money that he shouldn’t have,” said attorney Garey Farrell. “I believe he thought he would be able to pay it back and it didn’t turn out that way. It’s a sad day.”
In addition to the prison sentence, a judge ordered Morgan to pay back his victims in full. Meanwhile, Camp A.N.C.H.O.R. said it will continue to fundraise and continue to serve its special community.