David Ostrove, former Schecter School of Long Island financial officer, leaves...

David Ostrove, former Schecter School of Long Island financial officer, leaves State Supreme Court in Riverhead on Tuesday. Credit: John Roca

The attempted sale of centuries old presidential memorabilia has a former financial officer accused of stealing $8.4 million from a Long Island private school in new legal trouble, charging documents obtained by Newsday show.

David Ostrove, 51, of West Islip, pleaded not guilty to one count of second-degree criminal contempt and three counts of unlawful disposition of assets subject to forfeiture at his arraignment Wednesday before District Court Judge Jonathan Bloom in Central Islip.

Prosecutors have accused Ostrove of attempting to benefit from the proceeds of the sale of the valuable items in violation of a court order preventing him from doing so.

In the charging documents made public Wednesday, investigators allege that Ostrove entered into a consignment contract Dec. 10 with SMR Collectibles in Amityville to sell three items of historic significance, including a March 16, 1867 warrant letter signed by President Andrew Johnson.

“Only one known!” the charges say of the rare letter, which was rated in mint condition.

An order issued last July by Acting State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Farneti bars Ostrove from selling any property that could be used to recover a judgment equal to the more than $8.4 million he is accused of stealing from Schechter School of Long Island in Williston Park, where he worked 11 years as chief financial and technological officer and director of operations.

The two other items listed in the charges include a “John Wilkes Booth 1863 Broadside Playbill” and a check signed by President Benjamin Harrison. The charges state that all three items were specifically listed in Farneti’s July 21 order.

An inventory of seized assets related to Ostrove’s civil forfeiture case, filed in State Supreme Court Tuesday, show prosecutors seized 54 items from SMR Collectibles in relation to Ostrove’s case. The charging documents specify only the three items.

Defense attorney John LoTurco, who represented Ostrove at his arraignment Wednesday, declined comment afterward. His law partner, Bruce Barket, said on Tuesday that he believes prosecutors made “an honest mistake.”

“The items that they attached are not the same items that he consigned,” Barket told Newsday.

Ostrove was released on his own recognizance Wednesday. He remains free on $2 million bond with GPS monitoring conditions from his grand larceny and money laundering case.

Prosecutors have alleged that between March 2014 and April 2022, 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 money to buy vehicles, high-end clothing, jewelry, limousine trips and collectibles. He also allegedly used the funds to buy five Fire Island homes, purchasing them under different shell corporations, to generate rental income, prosecutors said at the time of his initial arrest.

Ostrove’s employment at the K-12 Jewish day school was terminated following his indictment last July, an attorney for the school said.

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