Gavel from Reuters 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Chip East)
NEW YORK – William Rapfogel, former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish
Poverty, was arrested and arraigned on September 24 in New York.
charged with stealing more than $5 million from the charity, and putting
approximately $1m. of that money toward personal use. Authorities say much of
the rest of the money was used for political contributions and
Rapfogel is charged with one count of grand larceny, two counts
of money laundering and one count of criminal tax fraud, as well as conspiracy,
falsifying business records, and “offering a false instrument for
New York Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman said Rapfogel had
directed the Met Council’s insurance agent to overcharge the Met for insurance,
and then “pocketed the difference,” Newsday of Long Island
Rapfogel claims that the theft and corruption with which he is
charged is endemic to the council, and that it began months before he was hired
21 years ago.
The New York Times named Rabbi David Cohen, Rapfogel’s
predecessor at the Met Council, and Joseph Ross, the owner of Century Coverage,
Neither has been formally charged.
statement released on Tuesday through his lawyer Paul Shechtman, Rapfogel said
he “very much hopes for a fair resolution to this case and [he will] continue to
make amends to Met Council. It’s been a hard day, but fortunately, the people
that know me the best remain in my corner.”
New York City Council speaker
Christine Quinn said in a statement, “People need those services, and if the
allegations against Willie Rapfogel are true, as will be prosecuted in the
court, then he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and they
should throw the book at him.”
“The accusations and the admissions thus
far are truly disturbing, and the attorneygeneral, I think, is doing the right
thing, and we should pursue the matter to the fullest extent of the law,” New
York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, in his first public statement on the
Rapfogel had many highlevel political connections.
wife, Judy, is the chief of staff to New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
She has denied any knowledge of her husband’s wrongdoing.
himself was a staffer for former New York City mayor Edward I. Koch. Rapfogel
hosted an annual legislative breakfast ahead of the Israel Day Parade, which
this year took place on June 2 and included most of the major candidates for New
York City mayor, and in the past has included attendees such as New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg and New York Sen. Charles Schumer.
Metropolitan Council announced on August 12 that Rapfogel had been fired. At the
time, he was being investigated for misappropriating funds for political
donations, but had not been arraigned or arrested.