Published On: Wed, May 13th, 2015

Rabbi David Cohen Sentenced to One Year in Jail

The Rabbi confessed to being part of a $9 million fraud on a non-profit.


Rabbi david cohen

Rabbi David Cohen, the former executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty in New York (Met Council) has been sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $650, 000 in restitution to Met Council for his part in a $9 million fraud.

Met Council is a taxpayer-funded nonprofit organization.

Say it ain’t so, Cohen. You are a rabbi for God’s sake. How could you do such a thing?

“David Cohen is a good man who made a terrible mistake, ” Cohen’s attorney Alan Abramson said at the sentencing.

A joint investigation by the New York Attorney General and Comptroller’s offices revealed that Cohen, together with former Met Council CEO William Rapfogel and other co-conspirators, stole approximately $9 million from the taxpayer-funded nonprofit organization as part of a 20-year grand larceny and kickback scheme. Cohen personally stole approximately $650, 000 from Met Council.

The sentencing came after Cohen pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. Cohen admitted in court that he conspired with co-defendant William Rapfogel and others to steal from Met Council through an elaborate kickback scheme which lasted from 1992 to 2013.

NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “Today, we have held all of the Met Council conspirators accountable for their roles in this massive theft, which ripped off some of the neediest New Yorkers. With this case, as well as the cases that we have brought against more than 60 other public officials and their cronies, our message is clear: No matter who you are, if you steal from New York charities that receive taxpayer dollars, you will face justice.”

“This sentencing concludes a distressing and lengthy theft of funds meant to help New York’s neediest citizens, ” said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “I hope these six prosecutions, and nearly $9 million in restitution, will serve as a warning to those who might contemplate similar behavior. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his work on this case and commend him for his efforts in our Operation Integrity partnership to investigate and prosecute those who steal from the public.”

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