Woodmere resident Isaac Zucker pleaded guilty on Feb. 1, to stealing $643,960 from the Orthodox Congregation Aish Kodesh, which is also in Woodmere.
Zucker, 49, a lawyer, pleaded guilty to grand larceny-second degree. He faces up to seven years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 9.
Elected treasurer of the synagogue in 2006, Zucker was responsible for paying bills and making deposits. He used his access to the shul’s accounts to steal the money by wiring it into his law practice’s business account and writing himself checks from the congregation’s accounts.
The theft was discovered in June 2011 when checks meant to pay the synagogue’s bills bounced. Falsified bank statements given to the congregation’s leadership by Zucker showed that one account’s balance was $200,000, when it was only $50.
At the time of the theft, the congregation did not have an internal or external auditor. Congregation President Elliot Blumenthal said that new procedures and controls have been implemented.
"It’s a sad situation all around and really a sad chapter in the congregation’s history, we are looking to put it behind us and move forward, " he said.
Zucker was arrested by Nassau County police in the Holiday Inn near MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma on June 30, 2011. Six days before his arrest, his family said Zucker went missing. They filed a missing person’s report a day later.
“He could not escape the years of lies and deceit, however, and for that my office will be seeking full restitution in addition to any prison sentence he may receive, said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.