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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’

Staten Island Cemetery Ripped Off $ Millions by Second Official

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

It was not enough that the United Hebrew Cemetery on Staten Island was operated by a couple who embezzled more than a million  dollars from the bank account of the cemetery. When the cemetery’s board of directors found out about the financial mismanagement, they brought in the cemetery’s outside counsel, Timothy G. Griffin, to straighten out the financial mess.

Instead, Griffin created a bigger one.

After being named acting president of the cemetery, Griffin then stole nearly $2 million from the kitty, according to a finding by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

According to court papers which have been unsealed, between October 5, 2012 and Jan. 3 of this year, Griffin transferred a total of $1.95 million from the nonprofit cemetery’s permanent maintenance fund into his own attorney escrow account. He accomplished this through a series of separate wire transfers, ranging from $250,000 to $385,000.

Griffin, 54, was arrested and arraigned on Monday, Feb. 10, on seven counts of grand larceny. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered back to court on Feb. 24 for a conference.

Griffin potentially faces a maximum of eight and one-third to 25 years behind bars if convicted of the top count, first-degree larceny.

“It’s always sad and shocking when we discover that someone used a charity as their own personal piggy bank,” said Schneiderman in a statement. “Stealing from not-for-profit organizations is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The former cemetery director, Ilana Friedman, was sentenced last October to a three-year conditional discharge after she and her husband, Arthur S. Friedman, reimbursed the cemetery $1 million and forked over $100,000 to Schneiderman’s office to defray its investigative costs. The husband was the former president of the cemetery. Both Friedmans have been permanently banned from working in the funeral or cemetery industry.

Charles Greinsky, president of Congregation B’nai Israel in Bay Terrace, said hundreds of congregation members and their families have plots at the cemetery.

“It’s disgusting,” he said of the allegations against Griffin. “You go from one thief to a bigger thief,” according to a local paper.

United Hebrew Cemetery is a Jewish nonprofit cemetery located at 122 Arthur Kill Road in Staten Island.

Cemetery Embezzler Pays Restitution, Gets Five Years’ Probation

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

A woman who pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Staten Island Jewish cemetery paid $1.1 million in restitution as part of a civil settlement agreement, and was sentenced this week to five years’ probation.

Ilana Friedman, a paid board member who together with her husband, Arthur Friedman, operated and controlled the nonprofit United Hebrew Cemetery for almost two decades, pleaded guilty in April to a felony count of second-degree grand larceny. Arthur, who at different times served as superintendent, president and chairman of the board was not criminally charged, but court papers said he “failed to exercise proper oversight” and “failed to implement adequate internal controls.”

In addition to diverting $850,000 in cash from the cemetery, Friedman, 52, and her husband, 56, charged tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of goods and services for their personal use on the cemetery’s credit cards. In 2010, the last full year both were on the cemetery payroll, the Friedmans’ collectively drew over $540,000 in salaries, according to tax forms.

The Friedmans, who own homes in Brooklyn and Florida, are now barred from working in the funeral and cemetery industries in New York State. Ilana Friedman’s probation requires her to “lead a law-abiding life, find suitable employment and avoid disreputable persons,” according to the Staten Island Advance newspaper.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman prosecuted the case in response to a referral from the state Division of Cemeteries.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/cemetery-embezzler-pays-restitution-gets-five-years-probation/2013/11/02/

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