Shalom Life | October 26, 2014

New York Rabbi Indicted in $12.4 Million Theft of Special Education Funds

Rabbi Samuel Hiller and three other men are accused of stealing money intended for children with disabilities

By: Daniel Koren

Published: May 14th, 2014 in News » World

A New York rabbi, 56-year-old Samuel Hiller, has been indicted, along with three other men, for reportedly stealing over $12.4 million in funds from that were originally intended for children with special needs.

The men reportedly stole the money from the nonprofit organization Island Child Development Center, which focuses on helping preschool aged kids with disabilities, using the funds for their own expenses, and for several Orthodox Jewish institutions around New York.

Hiller, who resides in Far Rockaway in Queens, and his confidants are being charged with grand larceny, according to a news release issued by Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown.

The remaining defendants have been identified as 52-year-old Ira Kurman, the former Executive Director of the Island Child Development Center, 41-year-old Daniel Laniado, who owns a kosher supermarket in Brooklyn, and 50-year-old Roy Hoffman.

Each defendant, if convicted of the charges against him, can face up to 25 years in prison.

Hiller allegedly stole $8 million to go towards funding religious schools and summer camps, as well as $3 million which went to the B'nos Bais Yaakov Academy, an Orthodox Jewish girls school of which he resides as principal.

Laniado is accused of cashing in over a million dollars in checks made by Island Child in the names of businesses and individuals that did not consent him. Kurman reportedly lent over $143,000 to members of the New York Orthodox community, and also spent funds on his daughter's wedding and son's bar mitzvah. Hoffman reportedly used $300,000 to remodel his home, and also gave his wife $15,000.

The missing funds were discovered when Kurman had learned that the state comptroller's office were planning an audit, and left his position, taking along with him the organization's books and records. Naturally, the state found this suspicious and began investigating him.


Photo Caption: Roy Hoffman (left), Rabbi Samuel Hiller, Ira Kurman and Daniel Laniado leave their arraignment Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Ellis Kaplan

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