Scarsdale baseball project promoter charged with theft

WHITE PLAINS — A financially-troubled Scarsdale man is accused of bilking an investor out of $50,000 for a baseball training center that was never built and for misrepresenting himself to get more money.

Frank Schwall, (left) a former member of the Scarsdale Little League board of directors, also is accused of not paying taxes connected to his failed venture, Big Apple Baseball.

Schwall, 46, was arraigned in Westchester County Court this morning on a eight-count indictment charging him with second- and third-degree grand larceny, two counts of possession of forged pay stubs and falsifying business records, all felonies.

He also was charged with misdemeanor counts of failing to file a tax return and filing a false tax return.

His attorney, Andrew Proto of the White Plains firm Riebling, Proto & Sachs, said Schwall maintains his innocence despite the allegations.

“He absolutely denies doing anything criminal in nature with respect to Big Apple Basewball or otherwise,” Proto said.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, Schwall created Big Apple Baseball, LLC in 2006 to raise funds for a state-of-the-art indoor training center for little league-aged children.

He promoted the training facility and sought donations from several wealthy Scarsdale residents. But by October 2007, prosecutors said, Big Apple Baseball was insolvent and the donations were in Schwall’s personal bank account.

Still, Schwall kept looking for donations. Another investor gave him $50,000 after Schwall allegedly said he had personally invested $200,000 in the venture and that a location in Port Chester was available for construction.

None of it was true, prosecutors allege, and say Schwall of using the $50,000 for mortgage payments.

Additionally, Schwall is accused of not claiming more than $175,000 from Big Apple Baseball on his 2006 state income tax return and not filing a return in 2007, even though prosecutors say he took in nearly $160,000 from Big Apple Baseball’s investors.

Schwall, who was arrested last year but not indicted until last week, is free on $10,000 bail. He is due back before County Judge Barry Warhit on Feb. 18.

Schwall faces up to 15 years in state prison if convicted on the top grand larceny charge, which prosecutors said is connected to a 2005 transaction in which he misrepresented his work status to get a home equity line of credit.

“We’re in the process of preparing to vigorously defend him at trial and Mr. Schwall is confident that when evidence is heard by a jury, the charges against him will be refuted,” Proto said.