There are few things lower than a grifter who steals from charity.
William Rapfogel, a politically connected former CEO of a prominent New York Charity who was sentenced to prison Wednesday for helping to steal more than $9 million from an anti-poverty organization.
A member of the grand bourgeoisie stealing from the poor? In the immortal words of Claude Rains: “I’m shocked . . . shocked! . . . to find gambling going on in this establishment.”
The Oneida Daily Dispatch reports that Rapfogel, who once headed the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, is looking at 40 months to 10 years in prison as a result of the theft. Authorities have linked the decades-long theft to campaign contributions; both the charity and Rapfogel have very deep political ties:
William Rapfogel, who once headed the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, will serve a term of 40 months to 10 years in a case that rattled New York’s political circles. Authorities linked the decades-long theft to campaign contributions, and both the charity and Rapfogel himself have deep political ties. His wife, who’s not accused of any involvement in his scheme, is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff.
“I deeply regret harming the organization that I worked 21 years to build and that I hurt and disappointed many people,” Rapfogel said as he was sentenced. “I have tried hard to make amends, but I also recognize that what I did was seriously wrong and that I will continue to pay a steep price for my actions. I am terribly sorry.”
His wife, Judy, and other supporters looked on as Rapfogel was led out of court, uncuffed, to start serving his term. Rapfogel, who pleaded guilty in April to grand larceny and other charges, also has paid $3 million in restitution.
Rapfogel became the executive director of the Met Council, as it is known, in 1992. He soon joined several conspirators in conniving to overcharge the charity for insurance so they could pocket the difference, state prosecutors said.
“He conspired with others to steal over $9 million, and personally stole over $1 million, from the people who needed it most, to benefit himself and his lifestyle,” Assistant Attorney General Gary Fishman said at the sentencing.
Rapfogel used $27,000 of that money to pay a contractor working on his home, and he had more than $400,000 in cash hidden in his home when investigators searched it in August 2013, authorities said.
Insurance company owner Joseph Ross and former Met Council Executive Director David Cohen also pleaded guilty in the scheme.
Rapfogel and Cohen directed Ross to use the money they gained from the insurance scam to make donations to candidates that Rapfogel believed could help the Met Council as part of the scheme, according to the attorney general. No candidates have been accused of wrongdoing, although several Democratic mayoral candidates decided to return the contributions after the allegations emerged. Among them was now-Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose campaign gave back $1,650 that they had received during the 2009 election cycle.
Both Silver and Rapfogel’s wife have said that Rapfogel kept them in the dark regarding his scheme, and no official made any connection between the donations and Silver’s office.
Rapfogel is lucky he’s rich and not Black. Otherwise, he would be looking at some heavy jail time. Can you just imagine some poor person stealing $9 million dollars and only getting 10 years in jail?
Source: Oneida Daily Dispatch