Roslyn resident pleads guilty to embezzling $6 million

Rose Weldon
Leslie Scharf of Roslyn has pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $6 million from his employer Shoplet. (Image via LinkedIn)

A Roslyn resident has pleaded guilty to embezzling $6 million from his employers, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. announced Thursday that attorney Leslie Scharf of Roslyn had pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to one count of grand larceny for stealing from his employer, Ellison Systems, Inc., operating as Shoplet, an online office supplies retailer.

Between approximately May 2013 and June 2019, Scharf, 52, a licensed New York attorney, was employed as the general counsel and senior vice president of business development for Ellison Systems, where one of his responsibilities was to serve as the exclusive manager of Shoplet’s PayPal accounts.

“During this time period, Scharf abused his position as a legal advisor when he embezzled almost $6 million from Shoplet by diverting the money from his employer’s PayPal accounts into his own personal PayPal accounts,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “From there, Scharf transferred the stolen funds into various bank accounts in his name.”

Scharf then spent the money he had embezzled from Shoplet on extravagant personal expenses, “such as travel, high-end designer shopping, and purchases of a BMW and a Porsche.”

“For years, Leslie Scharf exploited his position as general counsel and the exclusive manager of his employer’s PayPal accounts to funnel nearly $6 million into his personal PayPal accounts,” Vance said in a statement. “Although the massive amount stolen sets this case apart from recent prosecutions of unscrupulous attorneys, the pattern is familiar – the defendant moved the stolen fortune into multiple bank accounts and used it to fund a life of luxury.”

Assistant District Attorneys Natallia Krauchuk and Daniel J. Koevary handled the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Steve Pilnyak, deputy chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau; Assistant DA Julieta V. Lozano, chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau; and Executive Assistant DA. Christopher Conroy, chief of the Investigation Division.

Financial Investigator Diana Cincotta of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations (FAFI) Bureau provided assistance, under the supervision of Irene Serrapica, Deputy Bureau Chief of FAFI, and Robert Demarest, Bureau Chief of FAFI. Paralegal Tallulah Wick; Deputy Inspector Joseph Del Duca; and New York Police Department Detectives Barbara Harper and Delano Grant and Sergeant Anthony Gonzalez also provided assistance.

On his LinkedIn page, Scharf is listed as a graduate of Roslyn High School, a 1990 alumnus of the George Washington University’s School of Business, and as receiving his Juris Doctor from the Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in 1993.

He is also said to have worked as an attorney at the firms of Certilman, Balin, Adler and Hyman, and Brown, Rudnick, Berlack and Israels prior to joining Ellison Systems as its general counsel and senior vice president of business development at the same time in 2006.

Scharf is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 8 to between three and nine years in prison, as well as restitution in the amount of $757,645.61, in addition to Scharf’s interest in his family home, representing the remaining funds and assets from his theft, totaling between $1.4 and $1.5 million.

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