QUEENS — A rabbi who stole $5 million in public funds meant for young special needs students is headed to prison.
Samuel Hiller will spend one to three years behind bars, officials said Tuesday. Hiller, former assistant director of the now-defunct Island Child Development Center, and three others stole the money over a 7-year period. He pleaded guilty in April.
His co-defendants — Ira Kurman, 54; Roy Hoffmann, 53 and Daniel Laniado, 44 — all pleaded guilty to various charges. Together, they diverted more than $12 million in funds. They’d received about $27 million in state funding between 2005 and 2012 for children in Queens and Brooklyn.
When investigators showed up at Island Child Development Center, they were told Kurman had left his position there and taken his books and records with him.
The men used the money they stole on a family wedding, home renovations and jewelry, among other things. Hiller used about $30,000 of the stolen money to fix a plumbing problem in his home.
“The betrayal of the public trust by this defendant who stole funds which were earmarked for special needs pre-schoolers with disabilities and used for his personal gain was deplorable,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.