The news and commentary below could easily have been appended to Jewish Supremacists Bribing Politicians and Laundering Proceeds of Criminal Activity or Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Two weeks ago I really had no idea how common jewish fraud was. Now I find a simple news search for “rabbi” regularly turns up more.
In Los Angeles, U.S. prosecutors charged Naftali Tzi Weisz, grand rabbi of a Brooklyn-based Orthodox Jewish group, seven other people and five charities with a scheme to evade taxes through use of phony donations. Weisz and four other defendants are scheduled to plead guilty today.
The case may prove a window onto New Jersey’s scandal. Defendants in California were charged with tax fraud, an accusation not yet made in New Jersey, and prosecutors in Los Angeles have targeted 100 more co-conspirators. Later indictments in California also provided enhanced details of illegal methods and of people and banks involved.
“The 2007 charges were the beginning of a much larger case we’re investigating,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel O’Brien, who is overseeing the Los Angeles case.
The organization charged has worked with related religious groups “to move money internationally,” he said.
The window this scandal provides is onto the tip of an iceberg of jewish fraud. Here’s how a jewish charity facilitated tax evasion:
Even after paying Spinka a 20 percent commission, a donor in a 30 percent tax bracket would come out ahead, keeping $80,000 of a $100,000 donation in cash and getting $30,000 because of the offset of the tax deduction.
Naftali Tzi Weisz, 61, entered his plea to one count of conspiracy and could face up to five years in prison at his scheduled sentencing on Nov. 16.
Others who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges were Yaacov Zeivald, 44; Yosef Nachum Naiman, 57; Alan Jay Friedman, 45; and Moshe Arie Lazar, 62, all of Los Angeles. They are scheduled to be sentenced in November.
Spinker Tzadick – Here is one of the best articles w/pictures! « Heimisheh Scandals, dated 18 months ago, has more details about the Spinka rabbi-criminal cabal:
While [assistant U.S. attorney in the major frauds section Daniel J.] O’Brien said he has documentation that the Spinka institutions took in about $750,000 through the scheme — then writing receipts for $8.7 million — in 2007 alone, the assistant U.S. attorney believes the fraud has been going on for decades: “I believe this goes on beyond living memory,” possibly for generations.
This is certainly not the first time an ultra-Orthodox sect has been accused of attempting to break the laws of the secular government — aramos, or schemes, were perpetrated over the centuries in the shtetls of Europe. In the last decade, arrests have occurred in religious communities in Brooklyn, Lakewood, N.J., and upstate New York.
However, this particular case has shocked Los Angeles’ ultra-Orthodox community, not only because Los Angeles had largely been exempt from such cases in the past, but also because some of the city’s prominent members have been charged as being at the center of the scheme.
As a result, the case has sparked a fierce debate about the type of behavior that is acceptable for observant people and what type of religious community Los Angeles would like to be. But there’s also debate about the laws of a moser, an informant, because one person who was not charged was the primary source of information for the federal case — though he allegedly started out as one of the perpetrators.
The article offers some samples of this “fierce debate” (my emphasis toward the end):
CRIME IS NOT SO BAD
“There are a million ways that religious institutions defraud the government,” said one Brooklyn accountant who asked that his name be withheld. However, it’s not just the Jews, he claimed, “churches do the same thing.” Churches and synagogues are exempt from filing tax returns — although many do — and the government usually does not audit unless it has probable cause. As a result, this can make fraud easier.
In the last decade or so, a number of Chasidic institutions on the East Coast have been charged with such crimes, including the 1997 case against the Skverer Hasidim in Rockland County, N.Y., where four men were found guilty of defrauding the government of millions of dollars in federal Pell Grants. But in the Orthodox community, many defended them, despite the crime, because the money was used to support needy yeshiva students.
“Nobody here owns a yacht,” a resident reportedly said, and the feeling then — as with many such institutional fraud cases — that if the money is used to help the community and not line someone’s pockets, it’s not so bad.
That, in fact, is a pervasive attitude these days in Brooklyn, where the Spinka case raised fewer eyebrows than in Los Angeles, because the attitude is everyone does something. This kind of discussion has been a hot topic on many Internet blogs that discuss the ultra-Orthodox community.
“The government are thieves, what gives them the right to take 40 percent to 50 percent of someone’s income? Anyone who can save yiddishe gelt from going down that toilet is doing a mitzvah,” one contributor wrote on the Vosizneias (Yiddish for “What Is News?”) blog.
The blog comments, though, seem to be about evenly divided between two camps: On one hand are those castigating the government or the bloggers posting the news for spreading gossip; on the other are those demanding that the community finally put a stop to criminal behavior.
One particularly poignant plea came from New York white-collar defense attorney Joel Cohen, in an essay published in 2006 titled, “Jewish Felons: The Problem of Criminality in Observant Communities.” Cohen described witnessing a disturbing rise in crime among Orthodox and Chasidic Jews.
“The problem in the observant community, however, is not merely occasional, nor does it often make headlines. Daily, in metropolises around the country, yarmulka-wearing criminal defendants appear before the bar of justice,” he wrote.
Some prisons — especially in New York, Los Angeles and Miami — have daily minyans, visiting rabbis, kosher food, classes and Shabbat meals, Cohen wrote. “The most common charge is fraud: against businessmen and run-of-the-mill citizens alike, most frequently involving victims outside of the Jewish community, against the government, against insurance carriers, against banking institutions, health care fraud, money-laundering and stock-swindling.”
Here’s another criminal rabbi. Ex-Chicago rabbi indicted in tax-fraud case arrested in Israel — chicagotribune.com:
A former Chicago rabbi and nine of his family members and associates have been indicted in connection with a tax-fraud ring that allegedly used the stolen identities of thousands of federal prisoners to file bogus tax returns.
Marvin Berkowitz, 62, who fled to Israel to avoid a tax fraud case in 2003, was arrested in Jerusalem on Sunday night, federal authorities said. Berkowitz allegedly recruited members of the conspiracy to travel to federal courthouses to gather information about prisoners to use in the scheme.
The ring, broken up by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, submitted fraudulent documents using the stolen identities seeking $35 million, and caused $4 million in refunds to be issued to bank accounts it controlled, authorities said. Berkowitz then allegedly directed $800,000 to be paid to his family members.
It was unclear when Berkowitz might be returned to Chicago, where in the late 1980s he also was convicted of stealing documents from the U.S. attorney’s office in yet another fraud case. He eventually was sentenced to 5 years in prison for that crime.
There is no shortage of high-profile Jewish crime. Take the infamous New Square scandal, in which four Hassidim were convicted for defrauding the government of $11 million by setting up a fictitious yeshiva to receive federal student aid money. Or the case in Williamsburg, New York, in which the rabbi of a Jewish day school stole 6 million dollars from the Board of Education over several years by falsely identifying more than eighty individuals as school employees.
Here’s some classic anti-anti-semitic apologia for jewish fraud. Z Magazine – Bernard Madoff – Wall Street swindler inadvertently strikes powerful blows for social justice? James Petras turns reality on its head in two separate ways:
Point number nine is that Madoff struck a severe blow against anti-Semites who claim that there is a “close-knit Jewish conspiracy to defraud the Gentiles,” laying that canard to rest once and for all. Among Madoff’s principle victims were his closest Jewish friends and colleagues, people who shared Seder meals and frequented the same upscale temples in Long Island and Palm Beach.
Madoff was discriminating in accepting clients, but it was on the basis of their wealth, not their national origin, race, religion, or sexual preference. He was very ecumenical and a strong backer of globalization as he defrauded the Anglo-Chinese bank HSBC of $1 billion, the Dutch arm of the Belgian bank Fortes of several billion, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the French bank BNP Paribas, the Spanish bank Banco Santander, and the Japanese Nomura of a total of $1.4 billion—not to mention hedge funds in London and the U.S., which have admitted holdings in Bernard Madoff Investment Securities.
Can’t you just see Petras smiling smugly to himself and wiping his hands after writing “once and for all”?
First is the typical anti-anti-semitic canard that the long list of indictments and convictions of close-knit jewish conspiracies to defraud non-jews is a “canard” concocted by “anti-semites”. Why would somebody attempt to so blatantly not just deny reality but invert it? For one thing it justifies seeing the prosecution and reporting of jewish crimes as “anti-semitic”, which in turn allows talmudic scholars to rationalize that jewish crime is not really criminal.
Second is the patently false kneejerk assertion that the fraud of close-knit jewish conspiracies has nothing to do with jewishness. With the criminal rabbi cases I’ve cited the central role of jewish networking is crystal clear. In Madoff’s case, his closest jewish friends and colleagues were generally the earliest ones in on the pyramid scheme, the contributions were relatively small and their payouts relatively early. Many knew or suspected what was going on, which is why they called it The Jewish Bond. The big international funds came later, bringing in largely non-jewish money (as opposed to “yiddishe gelt”) which was paid out largely to earlier “investors”, like Madoff and his closest jewish friends and colleagues. In the end Madoff kept his mouth shut and went to jail claiming only he knew. I’m sure the jews who lost money have names for what Madoff did. Moser isn’t one of them. Madoff’s real crime, according to the many very vocal jews who obviously don’t think jewishness is irrelevant, is the supposed damage he did to jewish “philanthropy”. There are similar laments from extremely self-conscious and thoroughly self-interested jews concerning their ever more numerous criminal rabbis.
A natural and healthy response from a secular government to the revelation of this pattern of fraud posing as religious philanthropy would be to subject all jewish charities to extra regulation and scrutiny. Such a response would undoubtedly be crimped if not completely stymied by the older, even stronger pattern of jews uniting to decry, pathologize and punish such normal, healthy responses as irrational jew-hate.
By continuing to treat each incident of jewish financial fraud as an independent case of religious philanthropy gone bad media and government both commit their own fraud. Whether motivated by sympathy, fealty, or fear the behavior is inexcusable, but not inexplicable. The government’s duty to prosecute crime conflicts with it’s special self-appointed “need to combat anti-Semitism”. The government’s drive to defend jewish interests is so strong that it manifests as anti-Whitism. This arises in part from the canard-inverting propaganda discussed above, in part from jewish lobbying, and as a result of jewish political contributions. It is reasonable to also suspect the kind of graft the syrian criminal rabbis are accused of using. When philanthropist-plutocrats talk, politicians listen.
The bottom line is that the more jews are convicted of grubbing too much too blatantly, the louder and more urgent the cries to criminalize “anti-semitism” become. Meanwhile, in contrast, jewish “philanthropy” continues unmolested. This is not at all a coincidence.