By LIZ BUTTON
After turning himself in to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, former Rye Golf Club manager Scott Yandrasevich was arraigned on charges of second-degree grand larceny at Rye City Court Nov. 19, capping off more than a year since revelations of an extensive financial scandal at the city-run club shocked the community.
According to the C felony charges filed by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, Yandrasevich, 49, created a shell staffing company, RM Staffing, to steal approximately $271,120 in fraudulent invoices from the club, and by extension the city, from Jan. 21, 2008 to Aug. 16, 2012. The DA is still investigating Yandrasevich’s alleged financial misdeeds as manager of the club, so the amount deemed stolen may rise.
The former club manager allegedly accomplished this financial fraud through “knowingly submitting false invoices to the City of Rye for fictitious employees over this approximate four-and-a-half year period,” according to the DA.
According to the DA’s office, Yandrasevich, now a Danbury, Conn., resident, allegedly succeeded in siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars in member dues into his own pocket via the fraudulent purchase orders. According to the charges, the former golf club manager allegedly submitted false, bi-weekly invoices over the course of 100 pay periods that listed invented employees who were falsely described as working in “Administration,” “Restaurant” and/or “Operations” at the club. The stolen funds were then allegedly transferred back from the staffing company into Yandrasevich’s pockets.
Yandrasevich, who was paid an annual salary of more than $107,000 by the city and lived rent-free with his family in a house on the club grounds, resigned in January after an initial suspension stemming from the allegations, which surfaced late last year, and was first reported on by The Rye City Review, formerly The Rye Sound Shore Review.
Kerry Lawrence, Yandrasevich’s attorney, said that his client looks forward to clearing his name in court. “All the work he ever did for the City of Rye was with the intent to serve the community and the citizens,” Lawrence said.
Any money that Yandrasevich received throughout his entire tenure as golf club manager was lawfully obtained, he said.
To date, Yandrasevich remains in the restaurant industry, according to his attorney.
The former club manager is also listed online as the proprietor of a home repair/energy services company in Harrison registered under the name ANSCO Inc. on Sept. 30 of this year.
However, ANSCO was one of the companies Yandrasevich created while running Rye Golf Club. He formed the company in January 2010, and according to the findings of an independent investigation commissioned by the city, ANSCO submitted monthly invoices, from 2010 through May 2012 for unspecified consulting work. Over that period, ANSCO received more than $211,000 in payments.
After the golf club allegations came to light, the city hired New York City-based law firm Brune & Richard to investigate the charges. The firm obtained information through a search of Yandrasevich’s office, emails and bank and payroll records, and after the report was released, the City Council forwarded the firm’s findings to the Westchester County District Attorney.
Brune & Richard’s investigation, released Feb. 27, reported Yandrasevich allegedly perpetrated the massive financial fraud via RM Staffing for at least six years.
Since the allegations against Yandrasevich were uncovered, the City Council as well as the club’s golf commission, have taken measures to restore public trust in city government. The city-run club is funded by the members themselves, and many Rye residents were personally upset as well as financially affected by Yandrasevich’s alleged theft.
In the aftermath of the charges, Republican Councilman and Mayor-elect Joe Sack said the arrest “certainly serves as vindication for the golf club members who relentlessly pressed for the truth, even in the face of significant obstacles and resistance.”
As the scandal unfolded, Sack was critical of City Manager Scott Pickup, who signed-off on a majority of the more than $7 million in purchase orders Yandrasevich submitted since 2006.
Yandrasevich was first hired by the city as the golf club’s general manager in 2002.
The mayor-elect promised that, once he enters office in January, he would closely follow the district attorney’s prosecution of Yandrasevich and pursue all avenues to recover the lost money.
Mayor Douglas French, a Republican, thanked the DA for charging Yandrasevich and leading the city to a day that has been “a long time coming.”
“Scott Yandrasevich was Rye’s Bernie Madoff…many people trusted him over the years, from different club commission members, council members, mayors, controllers, managers and staff. I am glad he has finally been charged and is facing his crimes,” French said.
The outgoing mayor said the city will work through its insurance carrier for the return of club members’ allegedly stolen funds.
On the day of his arraignment, Yandrasevich turned himself in to the DA’s office, after which he was put in handcuffs and transported to Rye City Court via county law enforcement. Judge Joseph Latwin set bail at $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash. Yandrasevich’s wife Anna paid bail and he was released later that morning.
If the former golf club manager decides he does not want to plead guilty, he may be indicted, according to DA spokesperson Lucian Chalfen, “but the investigation into the larceny [at the golf club] is continuing.”
The case will continue to return to the City of Rye Court until Yandrasevich is indicted or he formally declares the intent to plead guilty, at which point the case will be transferred to county court in White Plains.
Yandrasevich, who faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison, is next scheduled to appear in Rye City Court on Dec. 17.