By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A lower Manhattan property manager and self-confessed lottery addict pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing more than $2.3 million from property owners to pay his credit card bills and office rent.
Gambler Richard Bassik, 67, who owned Downtown Properties at 270 Lafayette Street, admitted to scamming funds from people involved in 19 co-ops and condominium buildings under his control because his betting habit put him in financial dire straits.
"In each case, I hid these thefts, while working to maintain the trust of the buildings' respective boards and shareholders," Bassik admitted in court, while entering a plea to grand larceny and fraud charges.
Prosecutors said Bassik also used the money to fund "a lavish lifestyle," including five-star hotel stays.
"Without the owners' knowing it, I took money from or completely emptied these accounts," Bassik said in court of accounts he had access to as a property manager.
"I claimed these were innocent mistakes, when in fact they were thefts," he added.
Bassik, of Long Island, faces five to 15 years in prison at his sentencing on Oct. 12.
Bassik's decision to plead guilty in Thursday's deal was a change of heart from last month, when he rejected the same offer.