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Rapfogel Sentenced, Begins Prison Term For Role in Met Council Scheme

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William Rapfogel. Photo: Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council.
William Rapfogel. Photo: Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council.

In state Supreme Court this morning, former Met Council head William Rapfogel received a sentence of 3 1/3-10 years in prison for stealing from the politically-connected Jewish charity.  As part of his agreement with prosecutors, he also paid $3 million in restitution.

The deal actually required Rapfogel, a lifetime Lower East Side resident, to come up with the money by July 16, but Judge Larry Stephen gave him until today to hand over the full amount.

The Met Council fired its longtime leader last summer after discovering a scheme to pad insurance payments. Rapfogel’s wife, Judy, is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff.  Neither Silver nor Judy Rapfogel have been implicated in the scandal, and she has not appeared with her husband at previous court hearings. But today, she sat by his side.

Before being taken into a courthouse holding cell to begin his sentence, the Daily News reported, Rapfogel said:

I deeply regret harming the organization that I worked so hard to build and that I hurt and disappointed many people, especially the clients, the staff and the board of Met Council… I have tried to make amends. But I also recognize that what I did was seriously wrong and that I will continue to pay a heavy price for my actions,” he added. “I am terribly sorry.”

Joseph Ross,  owner of Century Coverage, the insurance firm, and two former Met Council executives, David Cohen and Herb Friedman, were also prosecuted in connection with the embezzlement scheme.
UPDATED: More details from the courtroom, via the Wall Street Journal: (Prosecutor Gary) “Fishman told the judge the sentence was warranted because Mr. Rapfogel has shown a ‘lack of contrition,’ has continued to ‘minimize to others the full extent of his complicity in the criminal scheme’ and had ‘attempted to mislead the Office of the Attorney General from the very beginning of our investigation.'”
Here’s the press release from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman regarding the prosecution.
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