The overseer of a nonprofit New York cemetery who took control after the former operators were indicted for embezzlement was charged with stealing nearly $2 million.
Timothy Griffin, 54, an attorney who stepped in to run United Hebrew Cemetery after the Staten Island burial ground’s longtime president Arthur Friedman and his wife, Ilana, were indicted for embezzling more than $1 million, was arrested on felony grand larceny charges, the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday.
Griffin, formerly the outside counsel for the United Hebrew Cemetery, is facing up to 25 years in prison, the state attorney general said. He has been overseeing the nonprofit cemetery for 14 months.
According to the indictment unsealed Monday in Richmond County Supreme Court and statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, the attorney general’s investigation revealed that Griffin stole the money between October 2012 and January 2014, making six unauthorized wire transfers ranging from $250,000 to $385,000 to his own attorney escrow account.
Last April, Ilana Friedman was convicted of grand larceny charges for stealing more than $850,000 between 2005 and 2011. She and her husband were banned from working in the funeral or cemetery industry in New York State.
In November she paid $1.1 million in restitution and was sentenced to five years probation as part of a civil settlement agreement.
Arthur Friedman, who at different times served as superintendent, president and board chairman, was not criminally charged, but court papers said he “failed to exercise proper oversight” and “failed to implement adequate internal controls.”