Mark Zirkind – And the “Shoah Gelt” Laundering of Drug Money – 4 Years, Ontario Canada

COURT OF APPEAL FOR ONTARIO

CITATION: R. v. Zirkind, 2019 ONCA 401
DATE: 20190516
DOCKET: C63942

Hourigan, Paciocco, and Harvison Young JJ.A.

BETWEEN

Her Majesty the Queen

Respondent

and
Mark Zirkind

Appellant

Edward Prutschi, for the appellant

Jennifer Conroy and Kerry Benzakein, for the respondent
Heard: May 7, 2019

On appeal from the convictions entered on January 16, 2017 by Justice Todd
Ducharme of the Superior Court of Justice and from the sentence imposed on June
29, 2017.

 

[27] However, upon a review of the transcripts of proceedings, it is clear that the
trial judge was alive to the potential dangers associated with this evidence. The
trial judge not only expressed scepticism as to the import of this evidence during
the trial Crown’s closing submissions, but also said to defence counsel “I don’t
need […] to hear about that” when defence counsel started reply submissions on

Page: 12

the appellant’s travel history, and told defence counsel not to “worry about” trial
Crown’s submissions on the credit card transactions.

[28] In light of the submissions at trial, and the back and forth between counsel
and the trial judge, we are satisfied that the trial judge did not base his finding of
guilt on legally controversial inferences.
The Sentence Appeal

[29] We also disagree that the 4 year custodial sentence imposed was manifestly
unfit. We see no error of fact or error in principle that would justify appellate
intervention in this case.

[30] The appellant argues the trial judge erred in rejecting the appellant was a
mere courier which, had this submission be accepted below, would have been a
mitigating factor. We disagree. The trial judge’s finding that the appellant was not
a mere courier was amply supported by the record.

[31] Contrary to the appellant’s submission on appeal, the record also strongly
supports the trial judge’s finding that the appellant was motivated by profit and was
aware that he was transporting money obtained from drug tracking.
[32] The trial judge identified and applied the principles set out in R v. Rosenfeld,
2009 ONCA 307, 94 O.R. (2d) 641. He noted that the primary sentencing
objectives were deterrence and denunciation. He considered the relevant

Page: 13

similarities and differences between Rosenfeld and the case at bar. Again, we see
no error in principle that could justify intervention with the sentence imposed.
Disposition

[33] The appeal from conviction is dismissed. Leave to appeal sentence is
allowed but the appeal from sentence is dismissed.

“C.W. Hourigan J.A.”
“David M. Paciocco J.A.”
“A Harvison Young J.A.”

Chabad Lubavitch and Drug Money – Cash for Jews Fearing Holocaust -“Shoah Gelt”

The Recent Connection Between Drug Money and the Chabad-Lubavitch

Dear Readers:

For the past couple of years we have been given reports by insiders from within the Lubavitch community that the organization is receiving at least some portion of its funding from drug money. In other words, from couriers who are involved in the drug trade. We have never been provided any real details and have not wanted to address these contentions as a result.

The following article would lead one to believe that the reports we have received may not be far from the truth. Obviously, however, this is speculation. We leave you to your own devices in reading and interpreting the article from the Toronto Sun. We find the whole thing, in light of the reports we have received and some recent articles, somewhat perplexing.

LM

 

MANDEL: Drug money courier claimed cash was for Jews fearing Holocaust

You have to give him credit for a novel — if unsuccessful — defence.

Mark Zirkind isn’t your regular sort of criminal — he’s an ultra Orthodox Jew of the Hasidic Lubavitch movement, someone you’d expect to see in a yeshiva, and not under arrest after police seized $1,136,555 from his rental car.

On Feb. 23, 2014, Zirkind flew from Montreal to Toronto on a one-way ticket and rented a car. Police watched him meet up with a drug trafficking suspect they had under surveillance in the Yorkdale mall parking lot and receive a red-and-white duffle bag.

Later that night, as Zirkind was travelling east along Hwy. 401 back toward Montreal, he was stopped by the OPP for speeding. Following a search of his car, he was arrested for possession of property obtained by crime.

Police found over $1 million in cash in a number of bags, including $250,170 in the red-and-white duffle. The bags, the money, and several surfaces in the car, including the glove compartment, driver’s control surfaces, back seat and trunk, tested positive for cocaine.

According to the agreed statement of facts, the money in the Yorkdale duffle bag did come from cocaine trafficking. But Zirkind insisted he didn’t know at the time that he was transporting proceeds of crime.

Here’s where the novel defence comes in: He claimed he was a courier of “Shoah Gelt” — Shoah is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust and gelt is the Yiddish term for money. At his trial, Zirkind testified that he’d been approached by a stranger named “Avrum Reish” to move money to safekeeping in Montreal for Jews in Europe or Asia worried about a second Holocaust.

He told the court he was honoured to do so, “describing the task as a great ‘mitzvah’ or commandment from God.”

Zirkind testified that he drove the money from Toronto to Montreal on three or four prior occasions and never flew because he feared the cash would be discovered or lost. He said the people who handed over the money didn’t appear to be Jewish while those who received it in Montreal seemed to be orthodox Jews.

There were a number of reasons to be skeptical about his fanciful story.

The agreed statement of facts said Zirkind’s average declared annual income was $34,912. But between 2009 and February 2014, he’d made over $2 million in payments to his various credit cards.

Under cross-examination, Zirkind admitted he’d never asked how the money he was transporting came into Canada or where it ended up. He also claimed not to have a way of contacting Avrum and hadn’t heard from him since his arrest.

Superior Court Justice Todd Ducharme didn’t believe a word of it.

To continue reading click here.

 

 

Police in Ontario, Canada are Looking for Information on Elder Abuse at Facility – We are Trying to Find Ownership Info.

EMPLOYEE CHARGED: Elderly patient assaulted in Clarence-Rockland nursing home

Ontario Provincial PoliceFile photo

A 63-year-old employee is facing a charge of assault causing bodily harm after Russell County OPP investigated an “altercation” involving a patient at an unidentified Clarence-Rockland long-term care facility May 20.

Police are calling it an allegation of elder abuse.

Someone concerned for the resident’s well-being called police at 9:30 a.m. last Monday to report the incident, which left the resident, whose age wasn’t disclosed, with minor injuries. She did not need to be taken to the hospital.

Suze Marie Colin of Rockland appears in court in L’Orignal June 19.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Russell County OPP at 613-443-4499 or the OPP’s communication centre at 1-888-310-1122.

The Housing Market – Increasingly Controlled by Private Equity – Creating a Crisis [audio]

It’s not just the market in your city. Or your neighbourhood. Or your budget or financial situation. There’s a shadowy global financial practice at work that is fuelling the housing crisis in cities around the world. And nobody knows how to stop it.

Today we’ll explore the shady-but-legal practice of private equity firms approaching housing as a commodity for investment at scale, in cities around the world, including Canada. What happens when a dwelling that should be a forever home for a family becomes just a trade chip amongst tens of thousands of others, to be bought and sold solely based on profit margin? Nothing good, you would imagine. And you’d be right. But can cities and governments figure out a plan to stop it?

GUESTS: Leilani Farha, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing; and Fredrik Gertten, documentary filmmaker

(You can watch the trailer for their film, Push, and find out where it’s playing, right here)