There were two more arrests today in connection with the Met Council embezzlement scandal. In September, William Rapfogel, former head of the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, was charged in a scheme to allegedly steal millions of dollars from the influential charity organization. Today David Cohen, another former Met Council CEO, and Herbert Friedman, the organization’s former chief financial officer, were arraigned on charges of grand larceny, money laundering and conspiracy.
According to the Daily News, the criminal complaint against the two men alleges that they conspired with Rapfogel for some 20 years to “collect kickbacks on insurance payments.” They, as well as another defendant (former Century Insurance CEO Joseph Ross), are believed to be cooperating with prosecutors. “The new complaint,” the News reported, “says that Friedman helped transfer some of (the) cash (from insurance overpayments) to Rapfogel.” Investigators believe some of the money was also funneled to elected officials’ campaign accounts.
Cohen was head of the Met Council until 1992, when Rapfogel succeeded him in the top job. He continued on as a consultant until after news of the scandal broke last year. This past fall, Cohen resigned as CEO of Chevra Hatzalah, the ambulance service. Both men pleaded not guilty today.
William Rapfogel’s wife, Judy, is the longtime chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Neither Silver nor Judy Rapfogel has been implicated in the investigation.