Friday, April 25, 2014

Philantrhropist Rapfogel Admits Stealing More Than $1 Million From Charity

NY Times    For most of his long and very public life as a philanthropist, William E. Rapfogel has been surrounded by powerful friends and politicians, chief among them Sheldon Silver, the New York State Assembly speaker.

But as he sat in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday, about to plead guilty to several criminal charges, Mr. Rapfogel was all alone.

Grim-faced in a dark suit and black skullcap, Mr. Rapfogel quietly read passages from a well-thumbed copy of the Torah while his lawyers, Alan Vinegrad and Paul L. Shechtman, went over terms of a plea agreement.

A few minutes later, Mr. Rapfogel, 59, stood before Justice Larry Stephen and admitted stealing more than $1 million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the influential social service organization he had led for more than two decades.

The plea marked a stunning downfall for a man once considered one of the New York City’s most respected philanthropists, whose work and close ties to Mr. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, gave him influence and prominence in political circles. [...]
Mr. Rapfogel will be sentenced to 31/3 to 10 years in prison and must pay $3 million in restitution to the charity; to date, he has repaid $1.8 million. If he fails to pay the full restitution by his sentencing date, July 16, he will be sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, Gary T. Fishman, an assistant attorney general, said in court.[...]


  1. Why the "skullcap" and the agitprop attempt at piety by reading from "well worn copy" of a Chumash? I've never seen a picture of him wearing a yarmulka in public before this- why did this start at his sentencing for theft, from a Jewish charity, no less? Was it an attempt to diminish the severity of his infraction and perhaps extract a degree of sympathy from the judge? I see it as a selfish last ditch effort to adopt a quasi-religious persona in a court of law. I'd prefer it if he were more concerned about the massive Chilul Hashem he commited than his choice of headgear.

    1. Just NYT maligning religious Jews for a change.
      The more subtle it its, the more insidious it is.

    2. you are wrong! - Rapfogel and Cohen don't need any assitance in this Chilul hashem and there is nothing subtle about what they did.

    3. We need another CItifield gathering to stop this almost daily chillul hashem. I think that chillul hashem is a bigger problem in our community than the internet. Every week some frum yid is in the papers with some scandal.

      Chaza"l say כל שאינו מלמד את בנו אומנות כאילו מלמדו ליסטיס. By not educating our children they have no choice but to make a living by breaking the law. Give our children a choice to be professionals if they so desire. Not every one is cut out to be an (honest)

      Please excuse my venting, although not totally relevant to this article.

    4. I was replying to Fred's comment of the skullcap and piety descriptions. These ensured focus on religious Jews and greatly magnified the Chilul Hashem.

  2. Point of fact: Rapfogel did wear a kipah in public.

    I do wish these crooks and molesters would do the Jewish world a favor and not parade their Jewishness when they are in court.

  3. It's funny how all everyone is concerned about is chillul Hashem. We should really stop using this phrase because it has lost its original meaning and instead is code for "what will they think of us".

    The point is this dude Rapfogel is a ganef and a scumbag because he stole millions from the poor. I rarely see this point made. All I see is chillul Hashem. It's almost like it's ok to steal as long as no one finds out and there's no chillul Hashem.

  4. Palease! No more asifas. There needs to be a complete overall of our circle. The whole idea that a kesuva requires a man to make 200k+ a year to send numerous children to yeshiva and take care of his wife in a manner befitting... is so far from yiddishkeit. During the last few years of this economic downturn all the yeshiva raised tuition, putting the screws to hardworking balei batim. The pressure to make a living is so daunting without the stress of the typical unsupportive Jewish wife. It doesn't make stealing less egregious, but it puts it into perspective.

  5. In another recent post Rav Feinstein, zt"l, reminds us of what an abomination homosexual behaviour is. But doesn't the Torah also call business fraud an abomination?


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.