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Nassau DA probing complaint alleging New Hyde Park baseball coach pocketed team's tournament money

Merillon Field House on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014

Merillon Field House on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 in Lake Success. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Authorities are investigating a complaint against a New Hyde Park baseball coach who an athletic association official said Tuesday was involved in an alleged theft of money meant to pay for Cooperstown tournament play for a team of 12-year-olds.

The Nassau district attorney's office got a complaint about Vincent Carreca on Sept. 2, and is probing whether a crime was committed, spokesman Shams Tarek said Tuesday.

Merillon Athletic Association chairman Anthony Camilleri said Carreca, the now-dismissed coach of a Merillon Sharks travel team, allegedly pocketed more than $12,000 that was supposed to fund his team's trip to play in an August tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park.

Camilleri said the league put down a $1,000 deposit for the team months ago and the players and their parents found out only days before they were going to leave for the tournament that they weren't registered to play. The coach also had collected all the other money for the tournament, but it never went where it was supposed to, the athletic association official said.

Carreca didn't respond to requests for comment. A Sept. 5 letter sent by his attorney, Paul Linzer of East Meadow, to players' parents, which was obtained by Newsday, said an escrow account had been set up to attempt to resolve their financial claims. But Great Neck resident Paul Jacobs, 63, has a son on the team and said getting money back won't fix the damage.

"There's just no way to get back what this man has stolen from my son and the rest of the kids. He's stripped them of their spirit," he said.

Linzer released a statement Tuesday saying his client "faithfully served the community and the Little League" and "regrets the tremendous strife felt by the involved families" because the team missed the tournament. It also said Carreca was remorseful and would completely resolve parents' financial claims.

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