TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

N.Y. rabbi, 3 others accused of stealing $12M in aid for disabled preschoolers

Daily Photo Galleries

By Reuters
Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 8:36 p.m.
 

NEW YORK — A New York rabbi and three others were indicted for stealing more than $12.4 million in public aid for disabled preschoolers and using it to spruce up their homes, get catering discounts and fund a relative's cosmetics business, authorities said on Tuesday.

The four men, who had ties to one of the city's largest providers of special education services for disabled preschoolers, were due in court on criminal charges in a 42-count indictment, including grand larceny, identity theft and falsifying business records, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.

If convicted, each faces up to 25 years in prison.

They are accused of stealing money meant to benefit the Island Child Development Center in Queens, a non-profit special education provider for Orthodox Jewish children aged 3 to 5.

“It is disheartening to see a betrayal of the magnitude alleged in this indictment,” Brown said in a statement.

Rabbi Samuel Hiller, who is the center's assistant director, and Roy Hoffman, the center's independent auditor, were accused of using the money to fix up their homes. Hoffman spent $300,000 for a house redesign and diverted $15,000 to his wife's make-up business. Hiller spent $30,000 on home plumbing work, the prosecutor said.

Hiller also was accused of diverting $8 million to various unrelated religious schools and camps, including $3 million to B'nos Bais Yaakov Academy, a private all-girls school where he is principal.

The New York State Comptroller's Office said they uncovered the fraud when the center's former executive director, Ira Kurman, ran off with his books and records just before a scheduled routine audit meeting in the summer of 2012.

In the indictment, Kurman was accused of making more than $143,000 in loans to community members, including a caterer in exchange for discounts for his daughter's wedding and his son's bar mitzvah.

A fourth man, Daniel Laniado, described as an investor in the center, was accused of using check cashing locations to liquidate more than $1 million of checks meant to benefit the center.

The center received about $27 million in state funding between 2005 and 2012.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. FBI, federal marshals join manhunt for survivalist accused of ambushing troopers
  2. Home Depot warns 56 million cards at risk
  3. Amid California drought, pop-up wetlands
  4. Rare respiratory illness reported in at least 10 states
  5. Girl accused in stabbing to please ‘Slender Man’ to undergo competency examination
  6. Snowden: U.S. shared info about Americans
  7. Holder urges bigger reward for whistle-blowers
  8. House panel OKs move to split Amtrak, focus on profitable Northeast Corridor
  9. VA report sugarcoats actions, doctor says
  10. Benghazi panel strives to rise above politics
  11. House OKs deal to avert Oct. 1 shutdown, training of Syrian rebels
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.