NYC philanthropist arrested for political corruption

Sept. 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A New York politico and philanthropist has been arrested and charged with fraud relating to illegal campaign contributions, police said.

William Rapfogel, who was until August the leader of the prominent Manhattan charity the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty -- and whose wife Judy is New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's chief of staff -- was taken into custody Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal said.

William Rapfogel, 58, has long been a political power broker. His organization is regularly the recipient of state and city grants and the group boasts of its close ties to Silver and other powerful politicians in Albany and New York.

Rapfogel was silent as he was led out of a Manhattan precinct in handcuffs, the Journal said.

Investigators with the state attorney general's office and the state comptroller's office said they began looking into Rapfogel's conduct after he was fired from the charity group. The Journal said evidence surfaced Rapfogel had been intentionally overpaying the charity's insurance premiums to a Valley Stream, N.Y., insurance company and then funneling the overages to political campaigns to skirt donation limits.

Investigators told the Journal there was no evidence to suspect any of the politicians who benefited from the scheme were aware of the money's origins.

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