William E. Rapfogel, the former head of the New York City Jewish community’s anti-poverty arm, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, is reportedly on the verge of pleading guilty to his role in running a $7 million dollar embezzlement scheme.
William E. Rapfogel
William E. Rapfogel On Verge Of Pleading Guilty
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
William E. Rapfogel, the former head of the New York City Jewish community’s anti-poverty arm, is reportedly on the verge of pleading guilty to his role in running a $7 million dollar embezzlement scheme.
Rapfogel and his co-conspirators – including Rabbi David Cohen and Joseph “Yossi” Ross – allegedly stole at least $7 million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty over two decades in a kickback scheme arranged with Ross’ Century Coverage Corporation, the Met Council’s primary insurance broker.
Rapfogel was in court for a brief hearing Friday. At that hearing, prosecutors reportedly said Rapfogel, who was arrested in early December, has not yet been indicted — a sign he is likely working on a plea deal, the Daily News reported.
Rapfogel’s case was adjourned until February 25, when an appearance in felony court has been scheduled. This is reportedly a sign that Rapfogel may be waiving the indictment process and pleading guilty.
Rapfogel is a pillar of his Modern Orthodox Lower East Side community.
Ross, a Beslov hasid active in the leadership of the worldwide Breslov Movement has already pleaded guilty.
Cohen – who was arrested earlier this month – is a haredi rabbi. He served as the CEO of Hatzolah, the haredi EMS ambulance service, after leaving his day-to-day duties at the Met Council where he was a former executive director and consultant. He left the latter position late last year due to the Met Council scandal.
Arrested with Cohen was Herbert Friedman, the Met Council’s the Met Council’s CFO from 1991 to 2009.
The criminal complaint against Cohen and Friedman reportedly says each told prosecutors "that in or around the early 1990s and continuing up until August 2013, they conspired with Rapfogel and others" to collect kickbacks on insurance payments made to Ross’ Century Coverage. "I am informed by the defendants that the proceeds of the scheme were usually distributed in cash," the criminal complaint continues.
Some money from the scheme was given to New York politicians supportive of the Met Council. None have yet been charged or indicted and there is no indication that any knew the source of the money.
More than $400,000 in cash was reportedly found in Rapfogel's two homes.
His wife, Judy Rapfogel, is New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's longtime aide and chief of staff.