CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:
Rabbis, Chasids, and Jewish Institutions Department
1930s-era Jewish gangster


"I can't believe it. A rabbi stole my money. A rabbi stole my money."
-- comments of prominent Jewish American mobster Joseph "Doc" Stacher, arrested over the years for "atrocious assault and battery, robbery, burglary, larceny, bootlegging, hijacking and murder," then an Israeli citizen after being deported from America in 1965. These comments were made upon winning a lawsuit after being swindled by Rabbi Menachem Porush of the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel Party.
Robert Rockaway,
But -- He Was Good to His Mother. The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters, Gefen, Jerusalem, 1993, p. 116-117



"Four years ago, Jewish banks in the Jewish state conspired in what has become known as Israel's bank shares scandal. Of the four banks, one was owned by Histradut [Israel's labor federation], one by the Jewish Agency, and one by Mizrachi. Last year, a New York yeshiva that was the seat for a grand rabbi was involved in a money-laundering scheme for area businesses. Some of them were reported to be illegal. Two officials of the school wer indicted and convicted. This year a prominent Wall Street figure and a lay leader of the New York Jewish community pleaded guilty to insider trading violations on what is said to be a massive scale. Several others have since been indicted -- and most so far are Jewish. And then there are the various corruptions plaguing New York: public officials betraying the public trust by lining their own pockets -- and, or so it would seem, almost all of them Jewish."
Jewish Week,
5-15-87, p. 25




"The scant attention [popular author Irving Howe] paid to Jewish crime in World of Our Fathers, his magisterial study of the [Manhattan Jewish] Lower East side is a good example of the amnesia American Jews show about this part of their history."
Charles Silberman,
A Certain People. American Jews and Their Lives Today, Summit Books, NY, 1985




  In 1994, in the (Jewish) Forward's list of the most important Jewish American leaders, Shoshana Cardin was noted as "chief of staff of American Jewry" and "past chairman of almost everything," from the United Jewish Appeal to the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. The Forward also noted that she "stood by her husband [Jerome Cardin] with dignity when he went to prison for his role in a Maryland savings-and-loan scandal." [FORWARD, p. 11-18-94, p. 11] Cardin was released from prison early for medical reasons, but an associate -- Jeffrey Levitt -- spent seven years behind bars.  Levitt, who was active in Jewish charities which fueled his "concurrent rise in Baltimore's Jewish community," was well known in the 1970s "as one of Baltimore's most audacious slumlords." As president of the Old Court Savings and Loan Association, he was involved in what one prosecutor termed as possibly "the largest fraud in the history of the state of Maryland."
Donald Baker,
The Extravagant Lifestyle of Old Court's Levitt, Washington Post, August 11, 1985, p. A1


"Honesty, fidelity, modesty, conscience, courage, altruism, love arenot unknown in the gentile world past and present. That these qualities have survived and sometimes even prospered is largely due to the insertion of the Jewish people into history."
Shalom Carmy,
Jewish author,
Religious Zionism: A Symposium, Tradition magazine, 1994,
p. 45]††



The avalanche of financial fraud and corruption in Orthodox Jewish circles pushed the Jewish Observer, a periodical of the Agudath Israel Orthodox organization, to devote some space to the subject in its Summer 1997 issue. "What might the sin of our day be?" wondered Rabbi Aaron Brafman of Yeshiva Derech Ayson in Queens (which had itself come under investigation for embezzlement a few years earlier), "... I submit that the new sins to be concerned about are those of geeiva and gezeila (thievery and robbery) -- dishonesty in money dealing."
[J. J. Goldberg,
Thou Shalt Not Steal, The Jerusalem Report,
October 16, 1997, p. 40]
Ironically, one of Agudath Israel's featured speakers at a yearly gathering two years before was David Schick, an Orthodox investment counselor, who lectured about ethics in business. He also chaired that Agudath Israel of America national convention. A year later he himself, notes the Jewish Week,
"was accused of swindling at least $150 million from hundreds of Orthodox Jewish investors ... in a massive real estate investment scam...
[His] potential cooperation with law enforcement authorities is sending shivers throughout the frum [Orthodox] world because of potential
involvement by the Internal Revenue Service into investors who used unreported cash in the investment scam."
Eric Greenberg,
Schick Scandal Shocker ..., Jewish Week, May 17, 1996,
p. 6


Kiryas Joel Rocked By Federal Raid.
The Jewish Week. April 6, 2001
"Federal agents converged on the upstate Chasidic community of Kiryat Joel last Thursday, sealing off part of the community in an early morning raid to catch an alleged ring of swindlers."

Voter Fraud in KJ Continues, Investigation Shows.
The Times Herald-Record
[New Jersey], October 17, 1997
"Voter fraud in Kiryas Joel is more widespread than once suspected and persisted last year despite officials' assurances they would stop it. The fraud extends into three counties, involves more than 170 fraudulent votes and occurred in most of the village's election districts. Little has changed since The Times Herald-Record last year uncovered what authorities say is the largest double-voting scandal of its kind in New York. In fact, it could happen again in next month's elections. The Record reported last year that 84 people's names and dates of birth were used 121 times to vote in two different places - Kiryas Joel and Brooklyn - in the same election. In other words, each name counted for two votes."

Judge Slams Silence on $42m Fraud.
The age.com
[Australia], October 14, 2000
"The true beneficiaries of a $42 million money-laundering scheme were at large and masquerading as reputable citizens, a judge said when jailing the head of a Melbourne Jewish family who controlled the conspiracy ... Transfers of up to $7 million a year before [Nachum] Goldberg's arrest in 1997 were made under the guise of a fake religious charity, United Charity, and secreted in bank accounts in Israel and Switzerland. During the long investigation and court proceedings, the Goldbergs refused to give information that would identify the tax evaders whose money was laundered ... The judge criticised the Israeli Government over the case. "When the investigators tried to follow the money trail they hit a brick wall in the form of the refusal of the Israeli Government or the Israel banks to cooperate," he said. He said Goldberg's accomplice in Israel was his brother David, a bank manager."

Millionaire NY Fraud Suspect on the Run.
Line of Duty, November 15-21, 1999
"A millionaire businessman who once owned part of Studio 54 and was partners with the owners of the Scores strip club is the target of an international manhunt after jumping bail in Florida. The search is on for convicted millionaire Sholam Weiss. The FBI and insurance regulators are offering $120,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Sholam Weiss, 45, who fled Oct. 18 while a federal jury weighed his fate in the nation's largest-ever insurance fraud. Weiss was convicted Nov. 1 ó along with three of his four co-defendants ó of racketeering, fraud, money laundering and other charges and faces life in prison in the looting of the National Heritage Life Insurance Co. The company collapsed in 1995 under the weight of the $450 million theft. Many of the company's 35,000-40,000 policy holders lost much of their life savings. 'This man was essentially a financial predator, and National Heritage was only the last in a long string of victims,' said Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy Hunt."

Yeshiva and the Mob
. New York Daily News, September 7, 2001
"A mob-controlled strip club used a yeshiva [Jewish religious school] run by the city's biggest Hasidic sect to launder cash for crime boss John A. (Junior) Gotti, federal prosecutors have charged. The scheme orchestrated by the owners of Scores, the upscale strip club, apparently was carried out without the knowledge of the Satmars, the sect that operates Yeshiva Yetev Lev D'Jerusalem of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At least one yeshiva board member, Isack Rosenberg, served as a conduit for the cash, but says he had no idea it was going to Gotti ... Rosenberg's lawyer, Samuel Burstyn, said his client deeply regrets involving the yeshiva in the transaction."
[Same Isack Rosenberg?: From the Orlando Business Journal, February 11, 2000. Scroll down to COURTS: "U.S. District Judge Patricia Fawsett rejected a request to order a New York businessman to repay $3 million to policyholders left high and dry by the looting of National Heritage Life Insurance Co. Isack Rosenberg is among those convicted of stealing $400 million from the insurer."]

Sheetrit Appeals 'Berger Law' Vote
. Jerusalem Post, June 28, 2001
"[Chaim] Berger, 75, fled to Israel just before US authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of fraud and forging documents. According to the United States, Berger and several other members of the New Square, New York, hassidic community bilked the government out of millions of dollars from various assistance programs. The most important of the affairs involved education grants for an institution that essentially existed only on paper. Berger allegedly arranged for members of the community to be registered as students for the institution which he claimed was a large college, when in fact it was a small yeshiva. The students received grants for their tuition and the money was allegedly returned to Berger and his friends and used to build up New Square institutions. Another of the charges against him involved fraud against the Small Business Association. In the 1990s, the US authorities launched a massive investigation against Berger and his colleagues. In 1997, shortly before the indictment against him was served, he fled to Israel and became an Israeli citizen."

Robin Hood Rabbi Jailed in Israel. Toronto Star [Canada] [article posted here at a discussion forum], May 26, 2000
"An ex-Montrealer known as the Robin Hood Rabbi has drawn a seven-year term in Israel for fraud involving an estimated $200 million ... The rabbi [Joseph Prushinowski] allegedly distributed his ill-gotten gains to unwitting Hasidic communities around the globe for housing, education and charitable causes. Prushinowski lived in the Montreal area with his wife and 12 children from the early 1960s until he fled in 1987. The only exception was a three-year prison sentence served in New York in the early 1980s for obtaining $1.5 million US through worthless cheques. While here, he conducted worldwide frauds by telephone, fax and telex. When he fled to Israel, he was wanted by RCMP, the FBI and Scotland Yard as well as New York and Dutch police. He was also profiled on the popular U.S. TV program Unsolved Mysteries."

Scam Costs Bd. of Ed. 6M: Probe. New York Daily News, April 16, 1999
"A Brooklyn rabbi stole $6 million from the Board of Education by putting 81 no-show employees on the board payroll in a 20-year scam that benefited his religious school, Special Schools Investigator Ed Stancik charged yesterday. Rabbi Hertz Frankel ó principal of the 4,000-student Beth Rachel all-girls school in Williamsburg ó pleaded guilty last Friday to a felony charge to commit mail fraud. Stancik charged that Frankel scammed $4.3 million in salaries and $1.9 million in medical benefits for no-show employees over two decades. Most of the money went to the religious school, Stancik said. He said about half the cash is still missing. At least 83 women got board paychecks, kicked back the money to Frankel and used the medical benefits, 'but never set foot in a public school,' Stancik said."

Group Says Aide 'Tarred' N.Y. Chasids. [Jewish] Forward, February 2, 2001
"A federal prosecutor who objected to several names on President Clinton's last-minute clemency list is now under attack from Jewish groups that accuse her of 'tarring' all Jews as potential criminals. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Landis of New York, reportedly urged the White House in a January 16 letter not to commute the sentences of four chasidic men convicted of stealing government student-aid and other funds, claiming the clemency would 'send a message to that worldwide community that its pursuit of its own religious customs justifies fraud against the government.' The letter, obtained by the Associated Press but not released, prompted angry retorts from two groups that seldom agree with one another: the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, a liberal-leaning coalition of national agencies, and Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox advocacy group. Both accused Ms. Landis of stereotyping a group because of the actions of a few ... In a possible reflection of the sensitive nature of the dispute, however, no other Jewish organizations were willing to comment on the Landis letter, including such normally outspoken agencies as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress. The ADL had objected once before to a federal investigation of student-aid fraud by Orthodox groups, arguing that a 1993 probe risked creating an image that such fraud was characteristic of a particular community, only to be told by federal officials that it was."

Huge Tax Scam Exposed, Montreal Gazette, September 21, 2000 [the Montreal Gazette doesn't keep its articles in its archive for longer than three months. The beginning of the article, as quoted below, was posted at the online journal USA Jewish. [The complete article can be found at freedomsite.org]
"Hundreds of people and businesses in Montreal's Jewish community are to face criminal charges or be required to pay tens of millions of dollars in evaded taxes as a result of a guilty plea yesterday in a Saint-Jerome court. The guilty plea by a religious group connected to the Hasidic community in suburban Boisbriand capped a two-year investigation of what federal tax auditors say is the largest-ever tax fraud involving a religious organization in Quebec. The religious group, which is known as Construit Toujours Avec Bonte and has links to the Montreal Rabbinical College, pleaded guilty to issuing tax receipts for charitable donations that overstated the amount of the donation. A senior Montreal construction executive blew the whistle on the scam when he approached Revenue Canada, now part of the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency, with taped information in 1997. The resulting investigation saw federal tax sleuths seize about $60 million in phony receipts from individuals and businesses in the Jewish community, court documents say. Joseph Gutstadt, president of Magil Construction International, the whistle-blower who exposed the fraud, said in a telephone interview last night from Israel: 'I'm happy that, at the end of the day, justice has prevailed.' But Gutstadt said he was disappointed that Construit Toujours was fined only $400,000, and that none of the administrators of the organization or the rabbinical college were charged."

Rabbi's Criminal Record Raises Questions in Community.
Raleigh News and Observer
[North Carolina], June 18, 2001
"A rabbi who was convicted of a felony 10 years ago said Thursday that he intends to stay in town and minister to students on the University of North Carolina campus. Pinchas Lew, known as Pinny, has faced growing criticism this past month from the Jewish community after the discovery of his involvement in an attempted armed robbery. Lew acknowledged his role as the get-away driver in an armed robbery that took place in Decorah, Iowa. In the course of that robbery, a convenience store clerk was shot but survived. Lew, a Hasidic rabbi, [is] part of the Orthodox Jewish sect known as Lubavitch, lives in a house on Park Place called Chabad where he conducts services ..." AND  Rabbi Facing Assault Charges Will Go on Leave. Raleigh News and Observer, June 17, 20001. "A Hasidic rabbi who was arrested this week and charged with exposing himself to a woman in his home will take a leave of absence from his ministry to students, a colleague said Thursday. Pinchas "Pinny" Lew, 31, was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor assault on a female. A member of the Orthodox Jewish sect Lubavitch, Lew conducted services for University of North Carolina students in his Park Place house. His senior colleague in Charlotte, Yossi Groner, the first Lubavitcher rabbi in the Carolinas, said he received a fax from Lew on Thursday announcing his intention to take a leave of absence."

Rabbi Involved in Robbery Now Accused of Exposure.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency,
July 13, 2001
"A North Carolina community, already reeling from the news that a local Chassidic rabbi took part in an armed robbery a decade ago, is now dealing with the rabbi's recent arrest for indecent exposure. Rabbi Pinchas Lew, 31, of Chapel Hill, was arrested on misdemeanor assault charges on May 16 after a woman accused him of repeatedly touching his genitals in front of her. The woman, a housekeeper in Lew's home, reportedly said Lew had bolted all the doors and that she feared he planned to assault her. She managed to escape through a back door. The woman filed a complaint with police two days later and Lew was arrested four weeks after the incident. He was released on a $1,000 bond. Lew, married with five children, led religious study and frequently held services in his home for college students ... After the local community learned about the Postville incident [the Iowa town where Lew was involved in the robbery], more than 100 members of the local Jewish community attended a meeting to hear Lew talk about his criminal past. Coincidentally, that meeting occurred on the same day he allegedly assaulted the woman in his home. ."

Rabbi Awaits Trial for Wife's Murder. Jewish Bulletin, July 13, 2001
"The 59-year-old [Rabbi Fred J.] Neulander stands charged with capital murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Nov. 1, 1994 bludgeoning death of his wife, Carol, in their Cherry Hill, N.J., home ... If convicted, he could face the death penalty ... Len Jenoff, 54, [is] the former private investigator who came forward in May 2000 and confessed that he and an accomplice, Paul Michael Daniels, 26, had beaten Carol Neulander to death at the rabbi's behest ... At the same time Jenoff alleges the rabbi was talking to him about the possibility of murdering Carol Neulander, Jenoff was fabricating scenarios claiming that he was a CIA agent and was being considered for Israel's espionage agency, the Mossad."

Latest from Rabbi on Trial for Murder: A Book
,
USAJewish
[originally at New York Times], November 5, 2001
"As he awaits a verdict in his murder trial, Rabbi Fred J. Neulander has published a book on how to be a good rabbi. The 288-page book, 'Keep Your Mouth Shut and Your Arms Open: Observations From the Rabbinic Trenches,' is published under the pseudonym Rabbi Adam Plony. Today the book was made available for mail order on the Internet, at www.disc-us.com. Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli, publisher of Disc-Us Books in Sarasota, Fla., confirmed that the book was the work of Rabbi Neulander, but said it had been in the works for years, and its publication was unrelated to the murder case. 'The book stands up on its own and is an interesting look at the day-to-day issues faced by rabbis and other clergymen,' she said. Rabbi Neulander, 60, who headed a synagogue in Cherry Hill, N.J., is accused of arranging the killing of his wife, Carol, in November 1994. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. The jury ended its third day of deliberations today in State Superior Court here without reaching a verdict, and will take Tuesday off while the New Jersey courts are closed for Election Day."

Last in a Series: 'Conspiracy of Silence' Fuels Rabbi's Sexual Misdeeds.
Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, November 1, 1996
"When women charge sexual exploitation by a rabbi, a conspiracy of silence often ensues. The secrecy protects the perpetrators, leaving victims alienated. Victims who speak out often find themselves ostracized by their religious communities. And they say that when they turn to the rabbi's professional association or their movement's congregational organization, they feel unwelcome ... At the congregational meetings that follow allegations of rabbinic sexual misconduct, synagogue members often ostracize accusers. Some accusers have been called 'liars,' 'whores' and worse, she said ... In one highly publicized case, Michele Samit -- who does not claim to be a victim of rabbinic sexual misconduct -- says her community vilified her after she wrote a book about the relationship between Anita Green and Green's rabbi, Steven Jacobs. Green was the president of Shir Chadash/The New Reform Congregation in Los Angeles when she was murdered in 1990. Her husband, Mel Green, was convicted of ordering the killing, and is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole."

Chassidic Rabbis Implicated in Colombia Drug Raid.
Jewish Bulletin of Northern California
, June 20, 1997
"[Rabbi Bernard 'Beirish'] Grunfeld, 64, president of the Bobover yeshiva and an executive director of Bobov's New York institutions, said nothing as federal prosecutors charged him and 11 others in a conspiracy to launder millions of dollars in illegal drug profits for Colombian drug dealers through the bank accounts of the yeshiva and synagogue of Bobov. The largest Chassidic sect in Boro Park and the second largest in the state after Satmar, it has perhaps as many as 30,000 adherents. The complaint charges that Grunfeld and Rabbi Mahir Reiss, 47, laundered tens of millions in drug money through the bank accounts of the Bobover Yeshiva, Congregation Eitz Chaim and Chaim Shel Shulem, believed to be a free-loan society and apparently located at the Bobover World Headquarters on 47th Street. They are accused also of helping the drug dealers buy an airplane that is commonly used to transport illegal drugs. The rabbis and others allegedly skimmed 15 percent to 18 percent of each transaction for themselves, federal officials said."

Anguish of Victim Who Took Drug Rabbi's RX,
New York Post
, August 12, 2001
"For three long years, Jean Brigleb saw top-flight specialists, took the prescription pregnancy drugs Pergonal and Metrodin and followed every instruction to the letter - and still didn't get pregnant. What the former West Village woman did get was vomit-inducing nausea and head-splitting migraines. She only recently found out why. Rabbi Moshe Millstein of Borough Park, who was sentenced last week to four years in prison, had sold $4.1 million worth of contaminated drugs to pharmacies throughout the city and the nation in a monstrous scheme to get rich quick ... Last week, an angry federal judge told Millstein, 'You might as well have been selling cocaine or crack - at least those folks knew what they were getting,' before imposing the prison sentence. Federal prosecutor Ken Breen said at trial that Millstein smuggled the drugs from overseas and had them repackaged as FDA-approved medicines. 'He's a lying, manipulative criminal,' Breen charged. No one knows exactly how many victims there are because investigators couldn't track them all down."

Jail Deal for Rabbis in Holcaust Scam. New York Post, August 10, 2001
"A Brooklyn federal judge reluctantly agreed to a plea deal yesterday in which two Brooklyn rabbis - one a former adviser to then-Mayor Ed Koch - will serve 33 months in prison for swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked for Holocaust survivors. Noting the 'wanton fraud and venality' of rabbis stealing from Holocaust victims, U.S. District judge Raymond Dearie said he 'might think twice about buying into this agreement,' but said he'd been swayed by the two rabbis' apparent lifelong service to the Hasidic communities in Brooklyn ... Rabbis Jacob Bronner, 51 - who served for 12 years as Koch's unpaid adviser - and Rabbi Efroim Stein, 55, controlled the non-profit Project Social Care. The group received a $2.5 million grant in 1995 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a counseling program 'tailored to meet the needs of elderly Holocaust survivors,' helping them 'deal directly with the Holocaust experience.' The rabbis then paid grant money to the Council of Jewish Organizations of Borough Park in a deal in which the council kicked back the cash to businesses controlled by Bronner and Stein. Several COJO officials were convicted of fraud in the late 1990s. The pair also paid for nonexistent goods and services from companies that also kicked the money back to the rabbis. Funds were also paid to several of Stein's relatives for nonexistent training; that money was then funneled into a Stein-controlled synagogue. Dozens of letters of support detailing the rabbis' charity work in Borough Park were submitted to the court, and a crowd of Hasidim turned out to voice their support."

Rabbi Convicted in Tax Evasion Scheme.
The Canadian Jewish News
. June 7, 2001
"A Toronto rabbi has been sentenced to a year of house arrest and must pay
a fine of $32,229, in a tax evasion scheme that issued false receipts in the names of three registered charities ... Only Rabbi Edery's age and poor health saved him from prison."

Veteran Rabbi Resigns in Wake of Only-In-Washington Scandal.
Forward
, August 10, 2001
"The resignation of a rabbi in suburban Washington over a financial scandal is the latest twist in what reads like a Clinton-era version of 'All the President's Men.' After months of fighting allegations that he misused hundreds of thousands of dollars from a synagogue discretionary fund, Rabbi Jonathan Maltzman, 48, recently announced that he would resign from his position at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County in Bethesda, Md., effective September 1 ... The resignation comes almost nine months after Rabbi Maltzman, credited with expanding the congregation from 450 to 1,000 families, was confronted about his management of the charitable fund, known as the 'rabbi's discretionary fund.' Leaders of the congregation say that they are hoping to put the controversy behind them. The Montgomery County state prosecutor told reporters, however, that his office is proceeding with its investigation ... Too many questions, opponents said, still remain about why Rabbi Maltzman has only been able to document the charitable use of $20,000 out of the $500,000 distributed from the non-profit fund during the past 11 years. Detractors claim that he initially provided misleading answers when asked about the discretionary fund ... As part of his severance package, Rabbi Maltzman will receive a year's salary with benefits, reportedly worth about $170,000."

Synagogue Rabbi Didn't Steal Money. Cincinnati Post, April 21, 1999
"The Kneseth Israel Congregation is rallying to the defense of Rabbi Jacob Lustig and others after the alleged theft of about $1 million in instant bingo ticket proceeds ... At services on Monday, Rabbi Lustig proclaimed his innocence to the members of Israel Kneseth, which includes about 50 Orthodox Jewish families ... Lustig, 71, and two former bingo supervisors are expected to plead guilty to felony theft of instant pull-tab money. Three others are expected to plead guilty to gambling, sources report. The anticipated pleas - now scheduled for May 7 - follow a lengthy investigation by Cincinnati police and the charitable foundations section of the Ohio attorney general's office. Lustig's expected plea includes the forfeiture of $1 million in personal assets to the Cincinnati Police Division, sources said."

A Sentence Without Ending. San Francisco Weekly, January 17, 2001
"Bentzion Pil, the so-called 'used-car rabbi,' was sentenced to nine months in a halfway house for a minor sort of money laundering. One of his lawyers, Michael Stepanian, argued that home detention would be more appropriate for the rabbi than a halfway house. His reasons were pious: An Orthodox Jew has certain needs, like kosher meals or not riding in a car on the Sabbath; conducting shul, or prayers and study, would be more convenient for Pil if he lived at home; and as a resident of a halfway house, the rabbi would not be allowed to "solicit any funds for his ministry ... Soliciting funds -- about $25 million worth, most of which has disappeared -- is why Pil was in court to begin with ... Pil's sentencing was the final step in a long and drawn-out legal case that had charged the rabbi with fraud in collecting and distributing millions of dollars in charitable donations -- but which has left unanswered the question of whatever happened to the money (see 'From Russia With Sleaze,' Postscript, May 31, 2000)."

Local Board of Rabbis Applauds Parole OK.
Jewish Bulletin [of San Francisco], June 29, 2001
"Sixteen years ago, Robert Rosenkrantz shot dead the family friend who cruelly outed him as a homosexual. Last Thursday, a Los Angeles judge ordered Rosenkrantz, now 33, to be released from prison over the vehement objection of Gov. Gray Davis -- but to the delight of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California ... Rabbi H. David Teitelbaum, the Board of Rabbis' executive director, said he was 'delighted to hear the news' of Superior Court Judge Paul Gutman's ruling in Rosenkrantz's favor. And while Rosenkrantz is Jewish, Teitelbaum said the prisoner's religion was not a factor in the board's decision to call for his release."

Mr. Rich's Roster. [Jewish] Forward, February 16, 2001
"A glance at the extraordinary list of Israeli and American Jewish leaders who lined up to support the pardon of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich must raise a host of complex and deeply troubling questions in the mind of even the most casual observer. Mr. Rich's endorsers included leading lights from both sides of Israel's political establishment, a pantheon of Israel's academic, cultural and religious leaders and a brace of the most thoughtful leaders in American Jewish communal life. The scope of Mr. Rich's roster allows only two possible conclusions. One possibility, commonly heard in Washington and around the country, is that the individuals involved were simply willing shills who helped the accused tax cheat escape justice in exchange for a share of his charitable largess. The other possibility is that Mr. Rich's back-channel involvement in Israeli intelligence, through his business dealings in Iran, Sudan and other trouble spots, ran deeper than has been disclosed, and that his pardon was a matter of genuine foreign-policy interest for Israel and the United States. If the first is true, it represents a breathtaking indictment of the top ranks of Israeli and Jewish leadership, who must stand accused of selling their credibility and honor in a pathetic pursuit of cash. If the second is true, then we are witness to a frightening rush to judgment by Washington's political and media establishment. Sadly, both possibilities are all too believable. Few objective observers can disagree that Jewish charitable fund-raising has become a juggernaut in the last generation. The bottom-line in fund-raising campaigns has turned into an absolute that trumps most other considerations in Jewish community decision-making, from the qualities of leadership to moral considerations of how donors earned their dollars. If Mr. Rich's multimillion-dollar Jewish charitable giving were the only reason for his endorsers to line up, it would only be an escalation in a trend that already exists. That said, it would be an escalation of devastating proportions, suggesting that an entire generation of Jewish leadership had utterly lost its moral compass."

Friends in High Places: Marc Rich's Jewish Fans.
[Jewish] Forward, February 16, 2001
"One-hundred people wrote letters that were included in a packet urging a presidential pardon for alleged tax cheat Marc Rich. More than one-half of the letter-writers are from Israel, including cabinet ministers, intelligence officials, mayors, professors and cultural icons. Others from Europe and the United States represent major Jewish organizations and communal institutions, medical institutions, businesses, yeshivas, museums and humanitarian organizations. Most of the organizations mentioned on this list were among those that received funds from Mr. Rich's Doron Foundation for Culture and Education, registered in Israel, or The Marc Rich Foundation, registered in Switzerland."

Shameful Display in Paradise. Jewish Week, February 16, 2001
"President Clinton was a good friend of the Jews, but many of his last-minute pardons were simply outrageous. Among the most indefensible were those granted to Jews, but scarcely a voice of Jewish protest has been heard. Instead, our community and its leaders have remained silent in some cases and actually supported the pardons in others. The result is that we have undermined our communityís moral fabric, jeopardized our political standing, disillusioned our youth and compromised the sacred values of our tradition. In short, the moral stain of this sordid affair has begun to engulf us. The president pardoned four chasidim from the Skverer sect in New Square, N.Y., convicted of robbing the government of $11 million by setting up a fictitious yeshiva to receive federal student aid money. Chasidic leaders and lawyers for the men, with no apparent irony, have justified the commutations on the grounds that many other yeshivas were doing the same thing and that the funds were channeled back into their community rather than being used for personal gain. For Jews, this is not simply another case of fraud and embezzlement. This is a case of religious people inventing an imaginary Torah institution to steal from the government, using the funds for other activities of their religious community and then defending their actions on the grounds that the money did not go directly into their own pocket. Throughout there is an implication that in some way all of this is religiously acceptable. Of course it is not. Their actions are nothing short of a chilul Hashem, a desecration of Godís name. Jews who break the law in Godís name and turn Torah into an instrument of thievery are bringing Judaism into disrepute. However, with the honorable exception of the Orthodox Unionís David Luchins, I cannot find a single example of a religious leader who has spoken out publicly against their reasoning."

The Chutzpah vs Den of Thieves. Columbia Journalism Review, February 1992
"One of the first lessons young reporters learn from a city desk is that in a run-of-the-mill crime story the race or ethnic group of the people involved is not 'relevant,' not to be included. Yet to censor ethnic elements in an ambitious piece, one that tries to include a sense of context and personal background, can be to succumb to a kind of racial prudishness. ... Michael M. Thomas ... writes a money-world column in The New York Observer. Thomas also writes novels, and his latest, Hanover Place, was criticized for what a couple of reviewers saw as a special problem -- that it depicted anti-Semitism in the financial world with a bit too much enthusiasm. ... 'If I point out that nine out of 10 people involved in street crimes are black, that's an interesting sociological observation," Thomas says. 'If I point out that nine out of 10 people involved in securities indictments are Jewish, that is an anti-Semitic slur. I cannot sort out the difference' ... James B. Stewart [in his book, Den of Thieves, about the Michael Milken Wall Street scandals] charts the way through a virtual solar system of peculation, past planets large and small, from a metaphorical Mercury representing the penny-ante takings of Dennis B. Levine's small fry, past the middling ($10 million in inside-trading profits) Mars of Mr. Levine himself, along the multiple rings of Saturn -- Ivan F. Boesky, his confederate Martin A. Siegel of Kidder, Peabody, and Mr. Siegel's confederate Robert Freeman of Goldman, Sachs -- and finally back to great Jupiter: Michael R. Milken, the greedy billion-dollar junk-bond kingdom in which some of the nation's greatest names in industry and finance would find themselves entrapped and corrupted."

Canadian Rabbi Sentenced for Drug Smuggling
,
Canadian Jewish News, February 10, 2000
"Rabbi Eli Gottesman, 74, was sentenced to six months of home detention for smuggling drugs and other contraband into an upstate New York prison where he worked as a chaplain. Rabbi Gottesman, who divided his time for 15 years between his home in Montreal and his chaplaincy work among Jewish inmates in jails in the Adirondacks, was also placed on probation for two years and ordered to perform 500 hours of community work in New York state by U.S. Federal Judge Thomas McAvoy. Rabbi Gottesman was arrested at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ray Brook, N.Y., in October 1998 for attempting to bring cocaine and marijuana into the prison. The drugs were concealed in balloons in a shampoo bottle, as well as in three watches and some jewelry."

3d New Square Convict Freed,
The Journal News [New York], January 18, 2002
"Three of the four New Square men whose sentences were reduced by then-President Clinton have been released from federal prison after their shortened terms ended. The fourth man whose sentence was shortened by Clinton in January 2001 is scheduled to be released in March. 'Obviously, we are very happy these three men are back home with their families,' said Rabbi Mayer Schiller, a spokesman for the New Square Hasidic Jewish community in Ramapo ... Released from prison since December were Kalmen Stern, Benjamin Berger and David Goldstein. Jacob Elbaum is scheduled for release in March, since he began serving his prison sentence two months after the other men because his wife was pregnant ... In 1999, a U.S. District Court jury convicted the four men of conspiracy, fraud, embezzlement and other charges. The men were found guilty of conspiring to steal tens of millions of dollars from the late 1970s into the early 1990s from government antipoverty grants, loans and subsidies. They also created phony schools and educational programs with phantom students to get federal money ... President Clinton, on his last day in office, Jan. 20, 2001, ignored recommendations of federal prosecutors and commuted the sentences of Goldstein, Stern and Elbaum to about 2 1/2 years in prison. He shortened Berger's term to two years. Once released, each man still must pay 10 percent of their gross monthly income toward repaying $11.6 million stolen from the government through a phony school in Brooklyn. Clinton's sentence commutations were among several of his last-day pardons investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan and the FBI. Investigators were looking into whether Clinton shortened the men's sentences in exchange for New Square's overwhelming vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the November 2000 Senate race."

Ex-HUC [Hebrew Union College] Administrator Charged with Embezzling $1.2 Million, Jewish Bulletin, March 17, 2000
"The former fiscal administrator for the Los Angeles campus of the Reform movement's seminary [Hebrew Union College] has been arrested and charged with embezzling $1.179 million. Jean Thorbourn, 61, forged numerous checks between 1989 and 1997 using a Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion dean's signature stamp and apparently applied a considerable part of the money to finance production of independent films, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Thorbourn, who also served as bookkeeper, had considerable latitude in her job, and her supervisors were slow in detecting the embezzlement, said Gary Judge, a senior investigator in the D.A.'s Office. The alleged thefts first came to light in September 1997, when Rabbi Lewis Barth, who'd been named dean of the HUC campus two months earlier, questioned Thorbourn about an expected but overdue payment of $381,000. Thorbourn said she had given the money to a friend, but a month later admitted that the money was used to finance a film titled 'Jamaica Beat.'"

Jewish Deaf Treasurer Arrested, Jewish Deaf Community Center
"Gerald Hersh, treasurer of Temple Beth Or of the Deaf was arrested by Nassau County police on July 17th on charges of embezzling more than $40,000 over a five year period according to NewsDay. 'The theft has had a very bad effect on us says Alice P. Soll of River Edge, N.J. who has previously served as president. Her signature was allegedly forged on 57 checks."

Elifant Denies Fleeing Over Itri Yeshiva Scandal,
Jerusalem Post, July 8, 1999
"Rabbi Mordechai Elifant appeared before the Jerusalem District Court yesterday and denied he had run away from Israel after police began investigating allegations last month that his former partner, Rabbi Chaim Weiss, had stolen millions of dollars from his Itri Yeshiva and its subsidiary institutions. 'The papers say I ran away,' he told reporters after a hearing on his request to suspend an arbitration decision involving a lawsuit against him and eight other people and institutions. 'All I did was to save two girls and to bring back money for the yeshiva. I can prove this.' Elifant refused to say explicitly that former Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri was involved in the alleged scandal. 'I don't have clear proof of Deri's involvement and I don't publicize my intuitions,' he said. Elifant said he refused to talk to police before leaving for Italy after his accusations against Weiss were published in the press, because 'I am a religious man. Before I talk to police I have to do two things - talk to my lawyer and talk to [former head of the Lithuanian haredi community] Rabbi Shach.' Last month, Ha'aretz published details from an affidavit which Elifant attached to the request heard yesterday. In the affidavit, he claimed that during the 1990s, while he was sick and incapacitated, Weiss seized control of the Itri institutions and stole millions of dollars."

Muslim Merchants Sue Over Jewish Rivals' Vendetta,
New York Post, February 9, 2002
"A group of Muslim shop owners in Brooklyn say their Jewish neighbors have made them an offer they can't refuse - and they're afraid their businesses will soon be sleeping with the gefilte fish. The Turkish immigrants have filed a $32 million federal lawsuit claiming that members of the local Hasidic community conspired to run them out of Borough Park - all because they wouldn't agree to buy out a rival shopkeeper's store. 'We had a half a million dollars invested," said Melih "Mike" Karamiloglu, one the store's owners. 'They killed the whole business.' The suit's claims - which have been denied by defendants Leib and Rachel Reichman - include racketeering charges under the same RICO act used to bust big-time mobsters' ... [A] series of racist fliers allegedly were tacked up around the neighborhood. They branded the Islamic shop owners 'Arab . . . Jew Haters' and 'terrorists' linked to Sept. 11. One even featured a picture of the exploding World Trade Center and called the shop owners 'murderers.' Then the store was hit with smoke bombs, and windows were broken, Karamiloglu told The Post ... In a twist that would bring back bad memories for every mobster brought down by wiretaps, Karamiloglu caught the couple and one of their alleged associates making what sound like threats on a secretly recorded audio tape. Rachel and Leib could be heard asking Karamiloglu to buy their store - or they will 'go to the synagogue' and do 'whatever is necessary' to settle the situation. 'We have some friends,' Rachel says, adding, 'I'm a volunteer in the DA's office.'"

Rabbi vs. Rabbi,
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, March 22, 2002
"Last Monday night, shots were fired into the front window of the Living Judaism Center (LJC) in Marina del Rey and into a car belonging to center board member Harris Toibb. Toibb is a major supporter of LJC, which is involved in a public legal battle for control of the property at 2929 Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey, currently occupied by LJC and formally known as Chabad of the Marina. The struggle has pitted two charismatic leaders against each other, and brings into question the right to dissemination of Chabad Torah teachings in Los Angeles. At press time there was an active effort within the Chabad community to bring both parties to a mutually agreed beit din (rabbinical court), which will bring a resolution between the sides. If both parties agree to go to the rabbinical court, all civil litigation will be revoked. The skirmish between Rabbi Shmulik Naparstek of the LJC and Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin of Chabad of California has been percolating for some years. The trouble began in October 2000 when Barronís magazine published the article 'Unholy Gains: When stock promoters cross paths with religious charities, investors had best be on guard,' in which Naparstek admitted that he received a gift of stock from Australian financier Joseph Gutnick. (No charges were ever filed against Naparstek, and he denies any wrongdoing.) For the next year, Cunin and Naparstek traded letters over the matter, and in January, Cunin fired Naparstek. Naparstek then filed for control over the synagogue, and on March 4, Cuninís legal team filed a counter-complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court accusing the Chabad of the Marina of ties to 'an alleged international stock manipulation scheme.'"

State Police Rabbi Dropped in Corruption Probe
,
Newsday, May 13, 2002
"A prominent rabbi on the state police payroll and his wife fraudulently charged the state more than $25,000 in travel and lodging expenses, according to the state inspector general's office. Rabbi Edgar Gluck of Brooklyn was dropped from the state police payroll when the report was issued, state police spokesman Sgt. Glenn Miner said Monday. Gluck served as a special assistant and later consultant to the state police since 1984, making $40,000 a year, according to a report Monday in the New York Sun. The findings have been referred to the state attorney general's office for further investigation. The behavior could constitute a felony, according to the inspector general's report. The investigation began when Gluck's wife, Frieda Gluck, stayed in her Brooklyn home even after her $68,000-a-year state job as an assistant secretary was relocated to Albany. Since 1998, she proceeded to charge mileage in her Lexus and other cars as well as hotel expenses while she and her husband stayed in hotels and later in their Albany apartment, according to the state report. Some of their fraudulent filings sought redundant reimbursement for expenses by the couple on the same trip, in the same car and in the same hotel, the report stated."

Synagogue Says Popular Rabbi Diverted Money for His Own Use,
Seattle Times, May 23, 2002
"Rabbi Earl Starr, a beloved leader in the Jewish community and for decades the senior rabbi of Seattle's largest Jewish congregation, diverted synagogue funds for personal use over about 10 years, congregants were told last week. Members of Temple De Hirsch Sinai were informed in a letter sent to congregants last Thursday and at a meeting Sunday. Starr, who retired last year, had diverted money given to the synagogue by a local foundation, said Jon Rosen, president of Temple De Hirsch Sinai's board of trustees. The money was intended to help pay for scholarships and ecumenical programs. Some members of the congregation said they had been told Starr diverted about $100,000."



* Not Enough? There's much, much more about INTERNATIONAL PROSTITUTION RINGS, THE HISTORY OF JEWISH CRIME, DRUGS AND THE 'RUSSIAN MAFIA,' and other NOTEWORTHY JEWISH CRIMINALS.


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