Employee from West Islip stole $8M from Schechter School of Long Island in Williston Park: DA

Employee from West Islip stole $8M from Schechter School of Long Island in Williston Park: DA
A West Islip man allegedly stole more than $8 million from the Schechter School of Long Island, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

An employee of the Schechter School of Long Island in Williston Park allegedly stole more than $8.4 million from the school to purchase homes on Fire Island and pay for his daughter’s college tuition, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

West Islip resident David Ostrove, 51, allegedly used the school’s PayPal and Stripe accounts to transfer funds into a personal PayPal account between March 2014 and April 2022, officials said. Ostrove then transferred the stolen funds into various other bank accounts that had him listed as the sole account holder, according to the DA.

Ostrove is accused of using the stolen funds to purchase five homes on Fire Island between 2018 and 2021 by utilizing five different shell corporations to do so, the authorities said. More than $1.4 million in stolen funds were allegedly used to renovate the Fire Island properties, resulting in Ostrove receiving roughly $600,000 in rental income, officials said.

He also purchased two Mercedes Benz vehicles, a 1965 Mustang, a 2021 Lincoln Navigator and collectible coins with the stolen funds, the DA’s office said. Ostrove also used the stolen funds to finance his daughter’s college tuition and make home equity payments on his West Islip home.

Because some of the alleged activity was related to his West Islip home, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case, despite the private school being located in Nassau County, officials said.

Ostrove, who spent 11 years at the school and served as its chief financial and technology officer and director of operations, is charged with first-degree grand larceny and first-degree money laundering, officials said. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison, according to the release.

“As alleged in the indictment, this defendant was trusted to oversee and safeguard the funds of this institution. However, he violated that trust and instead stole money earmarked to educate children to fund his own lavish lifestyle,” Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney said in a statement. “These alleged violations are clearly not only a breach of the trust between an employee, employer, and students, they are against the law.”

John LoTurco, Ostrove’s attorney, said in a statement that his client “adamantly denies” the charges handed down by the district attorney’s office.

 “In the meantime, we will closely scrutinize the district attorney’s evidence and financial records by retaining an independent forensic auditor to assess the accuracy of the prosecutor’s claims,” LoTurco said. “It should be noted that Mr. Ostrove is presumed innocent, has no prior arrests, and has the love and support of his family who is endeavoring to post the disappointing exorbitant bail set by the court today.”

Ostrove was held on $500,000 cash or $2 million bond or $2 million partially secured bond during his Monday arraignment, officials said. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 1, according to the release.

A spokesman for the Schechter School of Long Island, a Jewish Day School for K-12 students, told Newsday that Ostrove was fired following his surrender to law enforcement.

“This individual is accused of a systematic, sophisticated, and carefully contrived fraud on a chilling scale,” the spokesman said. “If convicted, this individual would also be guilty of something beyond the theft of cash: the destruction of trust. Not just with the school administration but with our parents, the faculty, and most important – our students. While dollars have allegedly been embezzled, what can’t be stolen is the future of the Schechter School.”

Efforts to reach a school representative for further comment were unavailing.


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