Thursday, December 20, 2007

Spinka leader charged with tax fraud

The leader of an Orthodox Jewish sect was arrested Wednesday after authorities unsealed a sweeping 37-count indictment alleging that he operated a decade-long tax fraud and money laundering scheme stretching from Israel through New York to downtown Los Angeles' jewelry district, authorities said.

Grand Rabbi Naftali Tzi Weisz, head of the Spinka religious group, and his executive assistant, Gabbai Moseh E. Zigelman, are accused of soliciting "tens of millions of dollars" in contributions to Spinka charities while secretly promising to refund up to 95% of contributors' donations, federal prosecutors said. The contributors then illegally claimed tax deductions on their bogus donations.
Spinka is a Hasidic brand that hails from Romania. If the charges, reported here by the LA Times, are true, this scheme would be based on a pretty familiar model. Also in hot water:
Six associates, four of whom were arrested Wednesday, were charged in connection with the scheme. Those arrested were identified as: Yaacov Zeivald, 43, of Valley Village; Yosef Nachum Naiman, 55, of Los Angeles; Alan Jay Friedman, 43, of Los Angeles; and Joseph Roth, 66, of Tel Aviv. Authorities are looking for Los Angeles diamond merchant Moshe Arie Lazar, 60, and Tel Aviv attorney Jacob Ivan Kantor, 71, both believed to be in Israel.

Five Brooklyn-based Spinka charities are also defendants in the alleged money laundering scheme: Yeshiva Imrei Yosef, Yeshivath Spinka, Central Rabbinical Seminary, Machne Sva Rotzohn and Mesivta Imrei Yosef Spinka. The charities are accused of making out false receipts for phony donations as well as receiving the money laundering fees, according to the indictment.

1 comment:

Mark Levin is The Great One said...

Before we rush to judgment let us remember that we are innocent until proven guilty. How many times are people charged with crimes only for the charges to be dropped or where they dont stick.

We also have to realize that not everything we see in the press is halocha l'moshe m'sinai (G-d's Word to Moses on Mt. Sinai) and we need to realize this is complete loshon hora.