Former head of New York City charity admits insurance premium scam

William Rapfogel, who headed Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty for 20 years, admits plotting with insurer to steal millions.
By Frances Burns  |  April 23, 2014 at 2:00 PM
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NEW YORK, April 23 (UPI) -- The former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty in New York City admitted Wednesday that he made millions in an insurance scam.

William Rapfogel, 59, who became the organization's president and CEO in 1992, faces up to 10 years in prison under a plea agreement. He must also repay $3 million.

He also must pay $3 million in restitution and has already paid back almost half that sum.

Rapfogel acknowledged working with Joseph Ross, who headed Century Coverage, the Met Council's insurer. Under their scam, the council paid inflated premiums and Ross and Rapfogel split the overpayments.

“I knowingly helped steal more than $1 million … as part of a scheme in which insurance premiums were inflated,” Rapfogel told a judge in Supreme Court, the trial level court in New York State.

Ross has already entered a guilty plea to grand larceny and money laundering. He is believed to be working with prosecutors.

Rapfogel's predecessor at the council, David Cohen, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to grand larceny. He faces up to two years in prison and $500,000 in restitution.

Rapfogel was known for his close relationship with Sheldon Silver, the New York City Democrat who has been speaker of the state Assembly since 1994. Rapfogel admitted telling Ross and others at Century Coverage to make campaign donations to Silver and other politicians.

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