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New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said two more people have been charged in the case involving $5 million taken from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty through a scheme involving a Valley Stream insurance company while William Rapfogel was in charge.
The case is closely watched in Albany because Rapfogel’s wife is the longtime chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver and Rapfogel are close friends. Neither Silver nor his chief of staff have been accused of any role in the case.
A felony complaint released Tuesday accused David Cohen and Herbert Friedman in the case in which Schneiderman has said $5 million was taken from the charity over 20 years. Schneiderman says some kickbacks were used for political contributions.
Cohen was executive director from 1989 to 1992 and was executive vice president from 1992 to 1995. After that, Cohen was a consultant for the charity until August 2013.
Friedman was chief financial officer of the charity from 1991 to 2009.
Both were arraigned Tuesday in Manhattan. They pleaded not guilty and were ordered to surrender their passports. Their attorneys didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The complaint accuses Cohen and Friedman of conspiring with Rapfogel to inflate the charity’s insurance premiums to steal from the organization. The complaint cites testimony from Joseph Ross, owner of the Long Island insurance company called Century Coverage Corp.
Ross pleaded guilty in December to pleaded guilty grand larceny and money laundering.
The extra premium payments served as a kickback to the conspirators, Schneiderman claimed in the court records.
Cohen's lawyer, Alan Abramson, declined comment. Freidman's attorney, Sharon Feldman, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.