Long Island Man Arrested for Stealing $4.5 Million From Mother’s Charity Account
A Long Island, New York, man was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly draining his mother’s bank account of $4.5 million to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Samuel Bernstein, 24, of Roslyn, Long Island, was charged with first degree grand larceny after he allegedly accessed his mother’s bank account electronically and took money from a fund she had set up for a wheelchair tennis player charity, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office said.
Between 2015 and 2017, he allegedly used that money on private jets, $100,000 bottles of champagne, hotel rooms, Super Bowl box seats, and nightclubs. He also used the funds to pay off American Express, Capital One, and Chase credit cards that belonged to his friends, the district attorney’s office alleges.
Bernstein also allegedly used online and mobile payment services like Venmo, Paypal, Squareup, and Plastiq to transfer money to various accounts and then withdraw cash after the transfers.
“The victim set aside this money to support a charitable cause, but because of her son’s alleged actions, more than $4.5 million was wasted on extravagant expenses,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a prepared statement.
The district attorney’s office said Bernstein’s mother, who has not been named, became aware of her son’s misdeeds in April and filed a complaint in Manhattan. For jurisdictional reasons, the case was transferred to Nassau County.
His mother has taken out a protective order against him. The district attorney’s office said he threatened via text message to destroy his mother’s home and harm a law enforcement officer’s family member. For that threat, he also faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated harassment in the second degree.
If convicted of the top charge, he faces 8 to 25 years in jail.
The district attorney’s office said Bernstein is being represented by the Legal Aid Society. A woman who answered the phone at the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County said they do not comment on cases.
Bernstein’s bond was set at $750,000, or $650,000 in cash.
He was arraigned at a Nassau County district court on June 7 and is due back in court on Monday, June 11.
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