Rabbi, 3 Others Indicted in $12.4 million Theft of N.Y. Special Ed Funds

Money Intended for Disabled Orthodox Pre-School Children

By JTA

Published May 13, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Four New York men, including a rabbi, were indicted for allegedly stealing more than $12.4 million in funding intended for children with disabilities.

Rabbi Samuel Hiller, 56, of Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens, was indicted on grand larceny and other charges, according to a news release issued Tuesday by Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown.

The other defendants were identified as Ira Kurman, 52, of Hewlett, the former executive director of the nonprofit center in Far Rockaway from which the New York state and city funding was taken; Daniel Laniado, 41, the owner of a kosher supermarket in Brooklyn; and Roy Hoffmann, 50, of Woodmere.

If convicted, each of the defendants faces up to 25 years in prison.

The indictment charges that they diverted money intended for the Island Child Development Center, which serves Orthodox preschool children with disabilities, and used the stolen funds for personal expenses, home repairs and other business endeavors, as well as to benefit various Orthodox Jewish institutions in New York State.

Approximately $8 million allegedly went to numerous religious schools and summer camps, including $3 million to the B’nos Bais Yaakov Academy, an Orthodox girls school also in Far Rockaway where Hiller is principal.

Laniado allegedly cashed or had cashed more than $1 million in Island Child checks, many in the names of individuals or businesses that had not consented.

Kurman is accused of using stolen funds to lend more than $143,000 to members of the Orthodox community and receiving repayments in cash, goods and services, including catering for his daughter’s wedding and son’s bar mitzvah.

The alleged thefts were discovered after the state comptroller’s office notified Kurman, then Island Child’s executive director, that it planned to conduct a routine audit. The auditors who arrived for the meeting in July 2012 were informed that Kurman no longer worked there and had taken the books and records.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.