Met Council’s ex-insurance brokers sentenced in $9 million scheme


NEW YORK (JTA) — Two former insurance brokers for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty were each sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

Solomon Ross and William Lieber, who together with the nonprofit’s former CEO, William Rapfogel, stole approximately $9 million in a 20-year scheme, will also surrender their broker’s licenses, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Friday.

Both Ross and Lieber, insurance brokers for the now defunct Century Coverage Corporation, pleaded guilty to grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and conspiracy.

Met Council’s main funding comes from government sources, but it also receives support from individual philanthropists and is a beneficiary agency of UJA-Federation of New York. The Jewish social service organization assists poor and elderly New Yorkers of all backgrounds.

The $9 million scheme, which dates back to 1992, was created by Ross’ brother and Century Coverage leader Joseph Ross and former Met Council CEO David Cohen. Met Council knowingly paid inflated insurance premiums to the company in exchange for cash kickbacks to Cohen and former Met Council Chief Financial Officer Herb Friedman. When Rapfogel became CEO, he continued the scheme.

All six defendants charged in connection with the scheme have pleaded guilty, the attorney general’s office said in a news release. Last July, Rapfogel was sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution. Friedman was convicted and sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay $775,000 in restitution.

Joseph Ross is expected to be sentenced on March 9 to 18 months in jail along with restitution, the attorney general’s office said.

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