Sex cult leader sentenced to 60 years in prison

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced in a press release on Jan. 20 that Lawrence Ray, aka “Lawrence Grecco,” received a sentence of 60 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, tax evasion, and money laundering offenses.

Ray, 63, of Piscataway, New Jersey, was sentenced by United States District Judge Lewis J. Liman after being convicted at trial in April 2022. Some of the crimes were committed at a home on Scarborough Place in Pinehurst, according to a New York indictment in 2020.

Photo of the Pinehurst home via Google Maps.

“Larry Ray is a monster,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “For years, he inflicted brutal and lifelong harm on innocent victims. Students who had their lives ahead of them. He groomed them and abused them into submission for his own gain. He controlled his victims’ minds and bodies through physical and psychological abuse and extracted millions of dollars from them.

“The sentence imposed today will ensure that RAY will never harm victims again. I commend the brave victims who testified in court in the face of incredible trauma. I also thank the career prosecutors in this Office and our law enforcement partners who made the just conviction and sentence in this case possible.”

According to the indictment and the evidence at trial:

From in or about 2010 through the present, Ray subjected a group of college students and other victims he met after moving into his daughter’s dorm room at Sarah Lawrence College to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse.

Ray’s tactics included sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, physical violence, threats of criminal legal action, alienating the victims from their families, and exploiting the victims’ mental health vulnerabilities.

Through this manipulation and abuse, Ray extracted false confessions from the victims to causing purported damages to Ray and his family and associates and then extorted payment for those purported damages through several means.

The victims made payments to Ray by draining their parents’ savings, opening credit lines, soliciting contributions from acquaintances, selling real estate ownership, and at Ray’s direction, performing unpaid labor for Ray and earning money through prostitution.

Through fear, violence, and coercion, Ray forced one female victim to engage in commercial sex acts to pay damages to Ray that she did not actually owe. Beginning when she was just a college student, Ray sexually groomed this victim and collected sexually explicit photographs and other personal information, which he then used to coerce her into continued commercial sex acts.

Ray also used physical violence. On one occasion, Ray tied his victim to a chair, placed a plastic bag over her head, and nearly suffocated her. Ray collected millions of dollars in forced prostitution proceeds from this victim.

In addition, Ray forced three female victims to perform unpaid labor on a family member’s property in Pinehurst. Through a course of psychological and physical abuse, Ray forced these three victims to do extensive physical labor, sometimes in the middle of the night, for no pay.

Associates of Ray helped him collect and transfer the criminal proceeds, which Ray shared with at least two associates. He then laundered his criminal proceeds through an internet domain business and evaded paying taxes on his proceeds.

At the sentencing today, Judge Liman underscored “the resiliency of the human spirit and the courage of the victims.”

In addition to the prison term, Ray was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release. He was also ordered to forfeit $2,444,349, the proceeds from the sale of his GoDaddy portfolio, and the Pinehurst residence where the forced labor took place. The court will decide restitution within 90 days of the sentencing. 

Williams praised the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department.

Ray’s co-defendant Isabella Pollok is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 22.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle Sassoon, Mollie Bracewell, and Lindsey Keenan are in charge of the prosecution.

Picture of Lawrence Ray from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contributed article.

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