A former high school football coach on Long Island was arraigned Friday on charges that he filed fraudulent time sheets to steal money from the school district he has worked at for decades, Suffolk County prosecutors told reporters.
Former Sachem High School North (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) head football coach David Falco, an alumnus of the school who returned and led the program to a championship, is a physical education teacher. The 52-year-old Falco was charged with third-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument, both felonies, and official misconduct, a misdemeanor, according to officials and court records obtained by Newsday.
Per Newsday, he was released on his own recognizance after the arraignment and is due back in court Jan. 31. If convicted, he faces a prison term of 2 1/3 to seven years in prison.
“Not only was the defendant allegedly stealing funds from the school district by falsifying his timesheets, he was also telling other individuals that compensation for that very same extracurricular work was not available,” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement reported by Newsday. “He used his position to take money from the school and to deny others of their rightful pay.”
According to Newsday, prosecutors allege Falco filed as many as eight teacher claim forms to the Sachem Central School District to receive pay for supervising the high school’s north weight room between Dec. 11, 2017, and June 12, 2018. Falco was taken into custody Friday morning. His attorney, John Scott Prudenti, of Center Moriches, said his client committed no crime.
“This is and was consistent with the manner of distributing small stipends to members of the staff which participated in supervision and instruction of the student athletes involved in a very successful program,” Prudenti said, per Newsday. “There was no way, no how, that the funds were intended to be used for anything other than the administration of a very successful football program. There was nothing illegal.”
Prudenti said the money, $5,755.68, has been repaid.
School district superintendent Kenneth Graham said in a statement obtained by Newsday that “Mr. Falco has been reassigned to home pending the outcome of the legal process . . . This is an ongoing investigation and the district is continuing to cooperate with law-enforcement authorities.”
Falco was the football coach at Sachem North for 15 seasons until his resignation Aug. 15, and also was the school’s physical education chairman.
Per Newsday, Falco is a 1984 graduate of Sachem High and has been at the school since 1996. As Sachem North’s head football coach since 2003, Falco was 82-58 and won the Long Island Championship in 2013.