A rabbi who was the former assistant director one of the city’s largest providers of special education services to preschoolers with disabilities has been sentenced to up to three years in prison after stealing $5 million in city and state funding that was intended for special needs students between the ages of 3 and 5 from 2005 to 2012, the Queens district attorney said.
Island Child Development Center (ICDC), a private not-for-profit company that is now defunct, was located at 1854 Cornaga Ave. in Far Rockaway and primarily provided services to preschool children in the Orthodox Jewish communities in Far Rockaway and sections of Brooklyn.
Rabbi Samuel Hiller, 59, of Far Rockaway, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in April and was sentenced on Oct. 16 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas to one to three years in state prison. As part of his plea agreement, Hiller made restitution of $1 million, forfeited more than $1 million in seized assets, signed a confession of judgment for more than $3 million to the city’s Department of Education and made a full and truthful completion of a “statement of financial condition,” Queens DA Richard Brown said.
Hiller and three co-defendants—Hewlett’s Ira Kurman, 54; Woodmere’s Roy Hoffman, 53; and Brooklyn’s Daniel Laniado,44—all pleaded guilty to various charges for their involvement in the theft, during which they illegally diverted more than $12 million of the $27 million that ICDC received in state funding to their relatives, their for-profit businesses and for personal expenses, such as jewelry, a family wedding and home renovations.