IDW's Exec Chairman William Rapfogel Served Time For Money Laundering

According to their company filings, IDW Media appointed one William E. Rapfogel as their Executive Chairman in March last year. He has also previously served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of IDT Corporation since 2017, the company that owned IDW in 2007, as part of the byzantine spaghetti map of corporate comic book ownership. William Rapfogel has had a number of businesses and political roles, was Senior Advisor at Realty Crown LLC, was an executive director for various non-profit companies, and spent a  decade working in the New York City government in senior roles with Mayor Ed Koch and Comptroller Harrison J. Goldin as well as acting as an advisor in White House Office of Faith & Community Based Initiatives for George W Bush from 2003 to 2008. Also notably, IDW states that William Rapfogel was a named defendant and entered into a plea agreement with the New York State Attorney General's Office in 2014 and that in May 2018, Mr. Rapfogel completed parole receiving a Certificate of Relief from New York State permitting Mr. Rapfogel to engage in any and all activities. So what's all that about?

IDW's New Exec Chairman William Rapfogel Served Time For Embezzelment
IDW's Exec Chairman William Rapfogel Served Time For Money Laundering

In 2013, William Rapfogel was ousted as leader of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty in New York, which provides employment services, crisis intervention, emergency food, and other programs for poor Jewish households. After financial irregularities were discovered in an investigation initiated by the Met Council's board of directors and, after NYC funding was suspended, he was then arrested on charges of grand larceny and money laundering. It was alleged that Rapfogel inflated the Met Council's health insurance payments by several hundred thousand dollars a year and then split the proceeds with politicians who supplied grants to the agency. In 2014, he "pleaded guilty to grand larceny, money laundering, tax fraud and filing false documents to the city campaign finance board" for his role in a scheme described as stealing more than $7 million from the social service agency, in a plea deal that called for him to receive a 3- to-10-year prison sentence and repay the charity $3 million. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that of the money Rapfogel personally stole $3 million, using the money to "fund a lavish lifestyle" and that "This sentence sends the message that there has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or powerful, and that those who rip off the neediest New Yorkers will be prosecuted," while New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called the fraud "shocking and very damaging to an organization that has literally helped countless people."

Others were also targeted as the scheme had its origins in 1992 when an insurance company submitted inflated invoices to the Met Council in return for kickbacks. Rapfogel took over as executive director in 1993, joined the scheme, and received the largest share of the kickbacks, up to $30,000 per month at one point, according to Schneiderman. As part of the scheme, the money was also used to make political donations to political candidates. William Rapfogel used to host an annual breakfast that drew many influential political figures.

After 14 months in jail, William Rapfogel was moved to minimum security prison at Lincoln Correctional Facility opposite Central Park in New York, where he was allowed to leave to go to work at a real estate company. In 2017 he was released from jail but remains under state parole until 2024. And is now the executive chairman of IDW Media, which owns comic book, TV, and games companies such as IDW Publishing, IDW Entertainment, IDW Games, IDW Limited, San Diego Comic Art Gallery, and Top Shelf, based in San Diego, California. IDW is a notable and sizeable publisher of licensed and original comic book content, as well as games and original television programmes. IDW did not respond to media inquiries.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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