Ex-Schechter employee charged with violating court order, attempting to sell presidential memorabilia

Ex-Schechter employee charged with violating court order, attempting to sell presidential memorabilia
A West Islip man charged with stealing millions from the Schechter School of Long Island has been charged with unlawfully selling presidential memorabilia. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

An ex-employee from the Schechter School of Long Island that was fired last summer after being charged with money laundering has also been charged with trying to illegally sell presidential memorabilia.

West Islip resident David Ostrove, 51, pleaded not guilty to one count of second-degree criminal contempt and three counts of unlawful disposition of assets subject to forfeiture Wednesday. 

Ostrove allegedly attempted to sell three items of historical significance and benefit from the proceeds, a violation of a court order preventing so, prosecutors said. 

On Dec. 10 Ostrove entered a consignment contract with SMR Collectibles in Amityville to sell a check signed by President Benjamin Harrison, an 1867 warrant letter by President Andrew Johnson and a John Wilkes Booth 1863 Playbill, according to documents. 

The three items have approximate estimated values of $8,000, $2,000 and $4,500 respectively according to court documents.

A July 2022 court order prohibited Ostrove from selling any property to recover the $8.4 million he is accused of stealing from the Williston Park school.

Ostrove, who is currently out on a $2 million bond, allegedly stole millions 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 last July.

He 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.

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. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison, according to a release.

John LoTurco, Ostrove’s attorney, said in a statement at the time 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.”

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