Rapfogel’s Fraud Partners Get Probation, Not Prison
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Rapfogel’s Fraud Partners Get Probation, Not Prison

Insurance brokers involved in $9 million Met Council kickback scam lose their licenses, but avoid jail.

Two of the insurance brokers involved in a $9 million kickback scheme at the nonprofit Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty were sentenced today, Feb. 13, to five years probation and each was ordered to pay $1.5 million they admitting stealing from Met Council.

The two men, who were also ordered to surrender their broker’s licenses, were Solomon Ross and William Lieber. They have each already paid back $1 million, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Ross and Lieber admitted to working with former Met Council CEO William Rapfogel to pad their insurance bills over the course of a 20-year grand larceny and kickback scheme.
The Met Council, which provides services to the poor and elderly in the city, is still struggling to recover from the scandal and is now looking to partner with another organization to reduce costs.

“This sentence sends the message that there has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or powerful, and that those who rip off the neediest New Yorkers will be prosecuted,” Schneiderman said in a written statement.

In the statement, DiNapoli called the scheme a “broad conspiracy [that] was an insult to those who donated money in good faith to help the needy.”

Both Ross and Lieber previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Joseph Ross, Solomon’s brother, from 1992 to 2013 to steal from the Met Council by inflating the insurance bills it paid to Century Coverage Corporation; Joseph Ross was a principal of the company. The scheme was devised by Rapfogel’s predecessor, David Cohen. Joseph Ross personally gave cash kickbacks to both Cohen and Herb Friedman, Met Council’s financial officer.

All six men charged in the fraud have pleaded guilty. Rapfogel is serving a sentence of 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison and was ordered to pay $3 million in restitution to Met Council. Friedman was sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay $775,000 in restitution. Joseph Ross is expected to be sentenced March 9 to serve 18 months in jail and be ordered to also pay restitution for the money he stole. Cohen is also awaiting sentencing.

stewart@jewishweek.org

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