Four Charged In $12.4 Million Disabled Children Fraud
The four, including a Far Rockaway rabbi, all have ties to one of the city’s largest providers of special education services to children with disabilities. They are facing grand larceny and other charges for allegedly stealing millions in city and state funding which was meant for special needs students between ages 3 and 5.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli jointly announced the indictments.
The defendants include Ira Kurman, of Hewlett, N.Y., Rabbi Samuel Hiller, of Far Rockaway, Roy Hoffmann, of Woodmere, N.Y. and Daniel Laniado, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Between 2005 and 2012, DA Brown noted, public funds provided to Island Child Development Center (ICDC) earmarked for special needs preschoolers with disabilities, were allegedly diverted to the defendants for their own personal use, to their families, to their other business endeavors and to local members of their religious communities. Money went to private schools, summer camp, weddings and personal expenses, including home renovations.
Arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter on a 42-count indictment, they are variously charged with first-, second- and third-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, first-degree identity theft and first-degree falsifying business records. If convicted, each faces up to 25 years in prison.
Court records indicate that the four men were affiliated with the Island Child Development Center