N.Y. rabbi, 3 others accused of stealing $12M in aid for disabled preschoolers
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
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Arizona county clears girl shooter in gun range death
- Invasive species in Great Lakes partially blamed on anglers
- Death Valley ‘sailing rocks’ linked to freeze-warm cycle
- U.S. waffling on ISIS feeds confusion among possible allies
- Military: Pilot was killed in Virginia F-15 crash
- Military pilot was killed in Va. crash
- Study examines body’s bacteria on move indoors
- Judge reaffirms Texas’ ‘Robin Hood’ system of school funding unconstitutional
- Obama rules out military response
- Chicago officer accused of putting gun in suspect’s mouth
- Prison term for Detroit porch gunman debated