Met Council insurance broker sentenced to 18 months plus restitution


NEW YORK (JTA) — Another co-conspirator in the scheme that stole approximately $9 million from New York’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty was sentenced to prison.

Joseph Ross, the former insurance broker for the nonprofit social service group, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Monday in a news release.

Ross also paid $534,000 in restitution to the Met Council and agreed to a judgment against him in the amount of $956,000.

Ross personally stole $1.5 million from Met Council, according to the news release. 

Ross, who pleaded guilty, admitted that from 1992 to 2013 he conspired with former Met Council CEO William Rapfogel, former Executive Director David Cohen and others to rob the Met Council through a kickback scheme in which top staff at the nonprofit knowingly paid inflated insurance premiums to Century Coverage Corp. in exchange for kickbacks.

Ross and Cohen devised the scheme in 1992, and when Rapfogel became Met Council’s head a year later, he joined the conspiracy. The inflated amount on the insurance policies and the amount of the kickbacks increased over the years,with Rapfogel ultimately receiving approximately $30,000 per month, the news release said.

In July, Rapfogel was convicted and sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison, and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution to the Met Council. Herb Friedman, the Met Council’s former chief financial officer, was convicted and sentenced to four months in jail, and ordered to pay $775,000 in restitution.

In February, Solomon Ross and William Lieber, former insurance brokers for Met Council, were each sentenced to five years of probation and $1.5 million in restitution.

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