Schechter School financial officer stole $8.4M to buy luxury vehicles, five homes on Fire Island, DA says

Schechter School financial officer stole $8.4M to buy luxury vehicles, five homes on Fire Island, DA says

An official at a Williston Park private school has been indicted on grand larceny and money laundering charges for allegedly stealing $8.4 million from the school and using the money to buy luxury vehicles, five homes on Fire Island and to pay his daughter’s college tuition, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said.

David Ostrove, 51, of West Islip, was indicted on charges of first-degree grand larceny and first-degree money laundering for the alleged theft of funds from the Schechter School of Long Island throughout his 11-year tenure with the school while serving as chief financial and technology officer and director of operations, the district attorney’s office said in a release.

Several shell companies owned by Ostrove, which prosecutors said were used in the scheme, were also indicted on money laundering charges. The BND Street Investors, Inc. company has been indicted on one count of first-degree money laundering and TD Partners Equity Inc., Elliso Holdings Inc., Triangle Properties, F.I., Inc., and Bayview Rentals Inc. have each been indicted on one count of second-degree money laundering.

“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 County District Attorney Ray Tierney said in a statement.

Ostrove’s defense attorney John LoTurco, of Huntington, said in a statement that his client denies the charges. 

“David Ostrove adamantly denies the allegations against him, and we will vigorously defend him through trial if necessary,” LoTurco said. “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. 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.”

The Schechter School of Long Island, a K-12 Jewish Day School, said in a statement: “This individual is accused of a systematic, sophisticated, and carefully contrived fraud on a chilling scale. 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.”

The school fired Ostrove after he surrendered to authorities, a spokesman for the school said. 

Although the school is located in Nassau County, the Suffolk DA’s office is prosecuting the case because some of Ostrove’s alleged activity was linked to his home in Suffolk County.

Between March 2014 and April 2022, prosecutors allege, Ostrove transferred school funds using the school’s PayPal and Stripe accounts into his personal PayPal account, and then transferred the money into multiple Bank of America and TD Bank accounts, where he was the sole account holder.

Ostrove allegedly used the stolen money to buy four vehicles, including a 1965 Mustang, a 2021 Lincoln Navigator and two Mercedes Benz vehicles, which are registered to his wife and daughter, the district attorney’s office said.

Between 2018 and 2021, he also used the stolen funds to allegedly buy the five Fire Island homes, purchasing them under different shell corporations, which prosecutors said hid the fact that he was the owner. Ostrove also used the money allegedly stolen from the school to make over $1.4 million in renovations on the homes, for which he received about $600,000 in rental income, prosecutors said.  

Ostrove also used the money, according to prosecutors, to pay his daughter’s college tuition, make home equity payments on his West Islip house and for travel expenses. He also bought high end clothing and jewerly, limousine trips, sports memorabilia, collectible coins, which he then actioned for profit and withdrew more than $1 million in cash, prosecutors said.

Ostrove was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $2 million bond or $2 million partially secured bond at his Monday arraignment.

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