Editor’s Note: This article has been updated.
YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A 71-year-old Mohegan Lake man is accused of influencing the outcome of multiple Bingo games at the Yorktown Jewish Center, according to the Yorktown Police Department.
Following an investigation by the New York State Gaming Commission and Yorktown police, Neil S. Gross was arrested at 10:53 a.m. Thursday and charged with first-degree gaming fraud, a Class E felony.
Gross worked as a caller for the Yorktown Jewish Center’s Bingo games. He is a past commander of Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21.
Because it is an active investigation, a representative of the New York State Gaming Commission declined to elaborate on how much money was involved, only confirming that it was more than $1,000. He also would not provide details on how Gross allegedly influenced the outcomes of the games or who benefited from them.
Yorktown News has submitted a request for this information under the Freedom of Information Act.
The New York State law regulating Bingo was amended in 2017, increasing the maximum single prize from $1,000 to $5,000 and the maximum prize per session from $3,000 to $15,000. Only people 18 years or older can play.
Ken Kissel, a member of the Yorktown Jewish Center, said he believes Gross is innocent.
“Neil is the hardest working man in the Yorktown Jewish Center, and as honest as they come,” Kissel said. “I am positive that he will be vindicated. Please give him a chance to prove his innocence before you condemn him.”
Others were also convinced of his innocence, saying the allegations are not consistent with his character.
“Neil is a good man,” said Paula Miritello, founder of My Brother Vinny, a charity that assists homeless veterans. “I truly don’t see this happening.”
Messages left for Gross and the Yorktown Jewish Center were not returned.
The Yorktown Jewish Center, in an email, announced that its next bingo game scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 19, had been canceled.
Gross was released without bail and is due back in Yorktown Justice Court at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.