Man behind East Haven Autism fundraiser walked away with money, say organizers

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EAST HAVEN -- An event which raised thousands of dollars for Autism awareness took a turn for the worse, when those involved say the organizer walked away with the money.

Wrestling for Autism was a benefit which drew in hundreds of spectators on April 22. A large portion of proceeds were to go to Autism Services and Resources in Connecticut.

The instructors at Paradise Alley Professional Wrestling, PAPW, said they were approached by a man asking them to help provide wrestlers and a ring for the event.

"He told us he was being sponsored by Autism we told him we’d be more than happy to do that for him," PAPW instructor and retired wrestling professional Paul Roma said. "The show was a great success probably brought in about $6,000 or 7,000."

Roma said after the event, the man gave PAPW a check for $1,800 for their services but it bounced.

"I feel duped obviously it does hurt us financially," Roma said.

He also said the man never paid Autism Services and Resources in Connecticut the thousands of dollars raised. Organizers said he also didn't pay all of the wrestlers.

East Haven Police said a complaint was made, Tuesday, regarding a bounced check believed to be from the benefit.

Police said bad check complaint investigations require a series of steps which includes the complainant contacting the issuing party via certified mail.

Once all the steps involved are completed, police look into possible criminal charges. One of the wrestlers from the event has created a GoFundMe page and plans to donate the money to the new Wresting Event for Autism which will be run by PAPW on June 24 in East Haven.

"We’ll go forward and we’ll right this wrong," retired pro-wrestler and PAPW instructor Mario Mancini said. "That's what good people do."

PAPW has hosted several successful charity wrestling events for organizations and schools in the community.