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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


President of Gingerbread Learning Center and Wife Sentenced for Stealing Approximately $771,000 from Special Needs Pre-School

School's President and Wife Convicted of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree After They Stole Taxpayer Money for Personal Indulgences

June 18, 2019

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon today announced that Dennis Mosesman, 71, and Elsie Mosesman, 72, have been sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay full restitution and asset forfeiture after previously pleading guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree.

The husband and wife stole approximately $771,000 in public funds by falsifying business records for The Gingerbread Learning Center, Inc., a pre-school serving special needs children on Staten Island. Throughout the course of the scheme, the defendants diverted public funds to purchase personal items including; landscaping for their home, car and insurance payments for their vehicles, flowers and other gifts for relatives, cell phone payments, personal purchases at Costco, life insurance, and also created a more than $100,000 no-show job for defendant Elise Mosesman.

The defendants were sentenced Tuesday in state Supreme Court, St. George, before Judge Alexander Jeong. The judge sentenced the defendants to five years’ probation and ordered them to make restitution in the amount of $625,000 and forfeit assets of $175,000.

"Diverting money meant to aid children with specials needs is simply reprehensible," State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “Thanks to my staff in partnership with District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and the New York City Police Department, these individuals must pay back the funds they stole. We will continue to work with law enforcement across New York to protect taxpayers’ money and vulnerable New Yorkers."

“This husband and wife stole taxpayer money that should have gone to help special needs children, but instead was spent on their own personal indulgences. We believe such deplorable crimes deserve nothing short of prison time, but the judge on this case ultimately sentenced the defendants to five years’ probation over the strong objections of my office,” District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said. “They are now convicted felons and have been ordered to pay back the money they stole out of the hands of the children and families of our community. My thanks to the NYPD and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his office for assisting with this case, and I commend ADAs Gregg Brown and Andrew Botelho for their diligent work in holding the defendants accountable."

On or about, and in between, January 2015 and August 2015, an audit of The Gingerbread Learning Center conducted by the State Comptroller’s Office revealed that items listed on the company’s Consolidated Fiscal Reports (CFR) for fiscal years 2010-2011; 2011-2012; and 2012-2013, and filed with the State Department of Education, were not reasonably related and necessary to the company’s operations, but instead were for the benefit of defendants Dennis Mosesman and Elsie Mosesman.

The Gingerbread Learning Center was in contract with the City of New York to provide special education programs to pre-school children, serving approximately 100 students annually, and was required to file yearly CFRs outlining the company’s yearly expenses and costs. The audit was prompted by an anonymous complaint received by the State Department of Education alleging that Elsie Mosesman was a “no show” employee. The audit examined, among other things, employee time and attendance, and payments for expenses The Gingerbread Learning Center claimed on its CFRs. The audit uncovered several financial irregularities in the CFRs submitted by The Gingerbread Learning Center. The audit also uncovered issues regarding the employment of Elsie Mosesman.

In addition to his wife’s salary ($150,000 annually plus fringe benefits), Dennis Mosesman also claimed personal items on the CFRs. Specifically, he claimed as program-related items: landscaping for his home ($18,936), car and insurance payments for his vehicles (two Mercedes Benz, a Porsche, and Toyota Highlander) ($56,966), flowers sent to his wife and daughters ($3,561), cell phone payments for his daughter and son-in-law ($7,002), Staples purchases for his daughter ($2,656), the purchase of a domain name for his daughter’s professional website ($220), personal purchases at Costco ($17,835), life insurance for Dennis Mosesman with Elsie Mosesman as the beneficiary ($42,877), and gift cards ($6,786).

The case was prosecuted by ADAs Gregg Brown and Andrew Botelho.