A Roslyn man who stole more than $4.5 million from his mother’s bank account and spent the money on box seats at the Super Bowl, flights on private jets and a $100,000 bottle of Champagne was sentenced Thursday to 3 to 9 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Samuel Bernstein, 24, pleaded guilty Aug. 29 before Judge William O’Brien to second-degree grand larceny. He initially faced a maximum sentence of 8 1⁄3 to 25 years in prison.
“Crimes that victimize family members betray the most fundamental trust and this defendant will pay with the loss of his liberty,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.
The victim was Donna Bernstein of Roslyn Heights, well known and beloved in the sports world of wheelchair tennis players. She set aside the money to help the players, prosecutors have said.
Bernstein stole from his mother’s account for at least two years, prosecutors said. He obtained her account information and accessed the money online, they said.
Donna Bernstein realized the money was missing in April of last year when she went to the bank to make a withdrawal. She filed a complaint in Manhattan and the New York County District Attorney’s Office started to investigate.
The case was referred to the Nassau district attorney for jurisdictional reasons. The probe included assistance from the NYPD and U.S. Homeland Security.
In addition to spending the money on private jets and Super Bowl tickets, Bernstein splurged on nightclubs and hotels, prosecutors said. He also paid off his friends’ credit cards, they said.
He picked up box seats for the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.
Bernstein used mobile payment services “to transfer money to various accounts and then obtain cash after the subsequent transfers,” prosecutors have said.