William Rapfogel expected to plead guilty to kickback scheme, says source

William Rapfogel speaks during the Met Council's 40th

William Rapfogel speaks during the Met Council's 40th anniversary celebration in Manhattan on April 25, 2013. Photo Credit: Michael Priest

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ALBANY -- A former New York City power broker with ties to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is expected to admit to participating in a massive kickback scheme Wednesday as part of a plea deal that calls for him to receive a 3- to 10-year prison sentence and repay a prominent charity $3 million, a source said.

William Rapfogel, who led the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty before resigning in August when the scandal broke, is expected to plead guilty to first-degree grand larceny and accept the sentence at a Manhattan courtroom, the source said.

David Cohen, who is also accused of participating in the Met Council scheme, also is expected to plead guilty to felony charges, pay restitution and receive a prison sentence, the source said.

Rapfogel has been under scrutiny since last summer. State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman charged that Rapfogel conspired with Cohen and a Nassau County insurance executive to inflate insurance payments paid by Met Council, a major nonprofit social services group, while pocketing the difference between the inflated costs and actual costs, "amounting to more than $5 million stolen from the organization over roughly 20 years," the complaint said.

Rapfogel's wife, Judy, is the longtime chief of staff to Silver (D-Manhattan). Rapfogel, 59, has known Silver for more than 40 years, since Silver was his youth basketball coach. Silver has said he knew nothing of Rapfogel's alleged activities.


Some of the money was funneled by Rapfogel and Century Coverage Corp., a Valley Stream insurance agency, into campaign contributions to various politicians, Schneiderman has alleged.

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The prosecutor had said Rapfogel received regular payments, either in envelopes stuffed with cash or through checks made out for personal expenses.

At one time, Rapfogel converted $100,000 in cash into a check to help his son purchase a house, the complaint said, and another time used $27,000 to pay a contractor working on his residence. Rapfogel told an investigator that he kept some of the money in his two homes.

In December, Joseph Ross, an owner of Century Coverage and third co-conspirator in the scandal, was the first to admit guilt. Ross pleaded guilty to grand larceny and money laundering charges. Terms were sealed.


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