Tax Liens Imposed on Accused Embezzler’s Fire Island Properties

A file photo screenshot of some of the investment properties in Ocean Beach presently under scrutiny and encumbered with tax liens.

David Ostrove of West Islip has a lot on his plate right now. The financial officer first made headlines in July of 2022 after being arrested for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from the Nassau County Hebrew day school, Schechter School of Long Island located in the Incorporated Village of Williston Park. Then only weeks into the year 2023, he was further charged with attempting to sell historical collectibles subject to government seizure, including an 1863 John Wilkes Booth playbill to memorabilia shop in Amityville. Now in 2024, Schechter School has filed a $35-million Notice of Claim against him – and more locally he is facing other problems – tax liens.

A Public Notice published on February 8 by the Incorporated Village of Ocean Beach has declared that multiple properties within village limits owned by Ostrove will be subject to tax sale via public auction as of March 1, 2024.

“The undersigned Village Treasurer of the said Incorporated Village of Ocean Beach will sell tax liens at a public auction, in the manner provided by law on the first day of March, 2024 at [1 p.m.] in the afternoon,” the notice reads. “Each purchaser at such tax sale may pay the amount listed to the Village Treasurer within 10 days of the sale, and upon such payment, the Treasurer will give to the purchaser a certificate in writing describing the real property purchased and the sum paid therefore.”

Among the 10 properties listed in the notice, five are connected to Ostrove and they represent a combined total of $59,217.94 in unpaid taxes, utilities, refuse, advertising and interest for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The listed properties are the same ones cited in the criminal complaint in which prosecutors from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office claim Ostrove purchased and renovated with the purported stolen funds, then generated revenue from renting the homes to vacationers through shell corporations.

Those properties having been leased to renters prior to Ostrove’s arrest during the summer of 2022, became an eerie sight as vacationing occupants recreated in the supersized homes seemingly unaware of the circumstances surrounding the space they inhabited. Last summer they stood more like vacant edifices with their high fortress-like walls hiding unused swimming pools and hot tubs from public view.

The Suffolk County DA’s Office responded promptly to our inquiry, but stated they are unable to comment because the case remains open and ongoing. 

However, don’t be so fast to bid on any of these desirable Fire Island beach houses. A source close to this matter informed Fire Island News that the DA has placed the legal instrument of Lis pendens has been placed on all the properties that are in dispute, which are presently also seized by Suffolk County while this matter remains pending. This means that the tax notice is just a formality for now, because no further action can be taken until a judgement is made on the case against Ostrove. That said, Mr. Ostrove is due back in court this week, Tuesday, February 20. His trial date was postponed last year, when he switched defense attorneys from John LoTurco based in Huntington, to Freeport based Ralph Franco, Jr. and Todd Spodek of Spodek Law Group of New York City. His new defense team continues to maintain his innocence. Ostrove faces a sentence of up to 25 years in prison if convicted.