Crimes and Misdemeanors, Survival of the Frummest – Systemic Fraud [Opinion]


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This opinion piece is being posted with full permission of the Author, Rabbi Yossi N. Minor edits and formatting changes have been made from the original which can be found on Facebook, here.

Survival of the Frummest, Part 3 — Crimes and Misdemeanors –

One of the most troubling aspects of today’s ultra-Orthodox community is the systemic fraud perpetuated by so-called frumme Yidden. This fraud, aka geneivishe shtick, comes in many varieties and flavors, but the common denominator is that it’s all illegal. The most prevalent of these frauds are those perpetrated against government social welfare programs.To the extent that there is welfare abuse within the hareidi community, one may ask, what makes it systemic? The answer is simple: the various Hareidi community councils (BP, CH, Willie, etc.) actively encourage and assist community members to sign up for every welfare program available. Now, it is true that many of these individuals were eligible for the programs at the time they signed up, but as their income grows, they become ineligible. However, once a hareidi individual with little secular education is dependent on government welfare, he will be reluctant to give up welfare benefits.And this is precisely the Hareidi communities’ game plan from day one. In other words, the community consciously regards the government’s social safety net — food stamps, medicaid, wic, section 8, etc. — as part of their budget, not as a last resort for a few struggling individuals. Every year, hundreds of Hareidim get married with the intention beforehand of relying on government welfare to make ends meet. The Crown Heights Community Council and the various other Hareidi community councils in NYC were established with the purpose, among others, of filling out welfare forms for community members. Thus, to use yeshiva language, welfare for Hareidim is not a believed, but rather a lechatchillah.An integral part of the welfare fraud and abuse within the Hareidi community is the wide-spread phenomena of working off the books, or under the table. Without working off the books, families’ income may increase over time to the point of risking losing welfare benefits. This is the reason that most, if not all, yeshiva teachers, rebbes, and administrators work either completely off the books or half on and half off. By working off the books, the Hareidi community also ensures that their taxes will be lower than otherwise – or that they’ll pay no taxes at all. In short, as the Talmud teaches, aveirah goreret aveirah, a transgression brings another transgression in its wake.

This is how Hareidi welfare fraud leads to tax fraud.

One might assume that welfare fraud would be more likely to be committed by the 40% of Hareidim who live below the poverty line. But Hareidi fraud is not confined to the poor alone. On the contrary, as you climb up the food chain, the fraud only gets larger and more pernicious.

Rubashkin from Crown Heights and Samet from Kiryas Joel are perhaps the most colorful and well-known criminal defendants within the Hareidi community. However, the minyan at the Otisville Correctional Facility is large and ever-changing as new members join and old members leave .This is not to say there is no fraud within the Modern Orthodox Jewish community.

The implosion of Platinum Partners — the shady hedge fund run by Murray Huberfeld and Mark Nordlicht — is one example of fraudulent activity perpetrated by members of the MO community. Overall, though, MO fraud is not a community organized activity. An MO council to help individuals apply for welfare does not exist in Teaneck. The same cannot be said for the Hareidi community, where the fraud is wide-spread and systemic and where many members are semi-literate at best in English.

One may ask, how can systemic fraud be so prevalent in ultra-Orthodox communities? Aren’t they meant to be the ones upholding the Torah, which directly forbids stealing?

The answer is rather straightforward: stealing from the government, ie. gentiles, is not considered stealing. The logic behind this notion goes something like this: the Talmud rules that one need not return the lost object of a gentile or excess money paid for goods by mistake. Welfare benefits are akin to a lost object or excess money – and thus need not be returned. This is where racism also comes into play. Hareidim claim that welfare fraud is pervasive among other minority communities, so why shouldn’t we also get money from the government? At least we’re using it for Torah and Mitzvot!

It’s only a matter of time before the government wakes up and realizes the systemic nature of welfare fraud within Hareidi enclaves. When that time comes, which it will eventually, Hareidi society will have to begin preparing its youth for the real world. Until then, the fraud continues.

By: Rabbi Yossi N.

Trump Super PAC Scandal, Lev Parnas Partner Correia Pleads Guilty to Lying

Lev Parnas partner David Correia pleads guilty to lying about donation to Trump super PAC

David Correia, a business partner of Rudy Giuliani’s former associate Lev Parnas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and to making false statements to election officials about a donation made to a group that supported President Donald Trump.

Correia admitted in Manhattan federal court Thursday that he conspired with Parnas to defraud investors in their would-be fraud protection business, which was called Fraud Guarantee.

Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal lawyer, reportedly received $500,000 to work on behalf of Fraud Guarantee.

KEY POINTS CNBC click here.

[EXCERPTED]

Correia, 45, admitted in Manhattan federal court that he conspired with Parnas to defraud investors in their would-be fraud protection business, which was called Fraud Guarantee. The plea hearing was conducted virtually over videoconference and phone lines because of the coronavirus pandemic.

CNBC, click here.

Correia and Parnas previously were charged in 2019, along with two other men, with conspiring to violate the law banning political donations by foreigners.

Last month, when a superseding indictment was filed against all four men, FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney said of the charges against Correia and Parnas, “We couldn’t say it better ourselves – the behavior alleged today is indeed fraudulent – guaranteed.”

Parnas, Fruman and the fourth co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, have all pleaded not guilty in the broader criminal case.

CNBC, click here.

Giuliani received $500,000 in 2018 for work for Fraud Guarantee, which he has described as “a combination of business advice and consulting, consistent with what my company does, and legal advice.”

Parnas and Fruman had worked with Giuliani on an effort to collect damaging information about the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, and about his son Hunter Biden, in connection with the younger Biden’s board position at a Ukrainian natural gas company.

CNBC, click here.

Magen David Adom Volunteers and Fake Testing Site, Israel and Covid-19

Reporters Catch Numerous Magen David Adom Volunteers Running Coronavirus Testing Scam

Coronavirus testing station (MDA spokesperson)

“Two Magen David Adom volunteers were caught on camera conducting black market corona tests for hundreds of shekel. According to a special report that appeared on Ynet news website, who conducted an undercover investigation, the volunteers are running a network of black market tests.

One of the volunteers who was caught on camera, a “high-ranking” volunteer in MDA’s Jerusalem branch, planned an “anonymous” Coronavirus test, that was carried out by a second volunteer. The volunteer who did the testing arrived in a dark vehicle and was not wearing any protective suit, in spite of the danger of being infected by the person who was getting tested. The test was done in exchange for hundreds of shekel.

In a separate incident, the high-ranking volunteer arrived to a woman, also a Ynet reporter who pretended to be a single mother, and conducted a test, without charging her this time. According to the sticker on the test, the test itself came from the “drive-thru” testing station in Jerusalem, and the MDA volunteer submitted the test into the results of the drive-thru under a different person’s insurance.

According to what reporters uncovered the system works as follows: Those wanting to be tested anonymously (so they can avoid going into quarantine or for other personal reasons) contact the high-ranking volunteer, and the price is set over the phone, as are the time and place of the test. The tester goes to the car of the person being tested without wearing any protective gear, and takes the cash, somewhere between 800-1,200 NIS according to the Ynet report. The tester swabs the person getting tested using MDA equipment, and promises that the results will be received in a number of hours.

It seems that the test gets transferred to the drive-thru testing center in Jerusalem, and from there gets sent to the laboratories. However, there is no proof that the samples get passed to the labs or that the answers received are accurate. According to the camera footage collected by Ynet, the high-ranking volunteer sent two different volunteers to do the tests, thus it is clear that this is bigger than a one-person operation.

One of the reporters was told by the MDA volunteer who came to test him and arrived on an MDA medicycle, “You are not the first person I’m testing. We do these kinds of tests all day long, from morning until nightfall. Regarding the results, you have to talk to the high-ranking volunteer. I just do the work. You have nothing to worry about. The lab that runs the test is in Ramallah, thus, the information never even gets to the Health Ministry. We only deal with people who don’t want others to know.”

According to the footage collected from the first Ynet reporter, these black market tests aren’t unique and occur all the time. Someone in MDA is abusing their power and connections to the testing centers for their own personal profit. Additionally, it is unclear whether the results given are accurate, thus allowing for the possibility that people sick with the disease are being told that they can roam free in the population.

If the tests are being sent to the drive-thru facility and processed that way, then the high-ranking official is stealing money from the HMOs who pay for each of the tests being conducted there and is taking the slot of someone else who needs the test.”

To continue reading in Yeshiva World News click here.

A Stark Reality – Landlord In Prison for Fraud, Tenants are On Strike, No Quiet Enjoyment and Rent Demands

Peeling paint and water stains on the ceiling of Ludwig Hurtado’s room.

Their Landlord Is In Prison For Fraud. He Still Wants The Rent

It was early evening, late July. Sean Thielen-Esparza, a project manager for a tech company, was on a work call in the bedroom of his Bushwick apartment when he heard someone banging on the door. The apartment is railroad style, and his room has its own entrance into the hall.

“No one knocks on that door, so I knew something was up immediately,” Thielen-Esparza recalled. “I had to tell the person on that call, ‘There’s something up and I need to go.’”

The rent was due, and all but one of the apartments in the building had stopped paying that month. The banging continued.

Men’s voices came through the door. Thielen-Esparza: “The words they used are, ‘We need to discuss the rent payment.’”

Bang, bang, bang.

“’Discuss the rent payment.’”

Bang, bang, bang.

Through the peephole, Thielen-Esparza saw two guys in T-shirts, strangers.

“I remember they were tall enough,” he said, ”where I was aware of the fact that if anything were to happen like a physical confrontation, I would not be able to defend myself against both of them.”

This went on for 10 minutes. Thielen-Esparza said nothing, instead checking in with his neighbors over email. They’d all gotten knocks. And when no one opened up, some of the visitors gathered outside. Peeking out their windows, tenants saw their landlord, a teenage boy (more on that later), standing there with another man, on the phone.

The building’s residents started getting calls and texts from a strange number. It was about the rent. The men lingered on the sidewalk. Thielen-Esparza had an acupuncture appointment that evening. He canceled it.

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Chey Tenenboim To Miss His Son’s Bar Mitzvah After Jail Sentence

Aussie.ten

Gold dealer Chey Tenenboim to miss son’s bar mitzvah after jailed over shonky trading

A Jewish gold dealer, jailed after giving cash to crooks for stolen jewelleryhas been delivered the ultimate punishment — missing his son’s bar mitzvah — by a judge keen to denounced his “extremely shameful behaviour”.

A Jewish gold dealer outed as a fraudster who gave cash to crooks for stolen jewellery has been delivered the ultimate punishment of missing his son’s bar mitzvah.

County Court Judge Scott Johns said Chey Tenenboim must be denounced for his greedy actions, jailing him for 12 months.

The Caulfield North father of four had earlier begged the judge to impose a sentence that would see him free for the coming of age ritual for his son’s 13th birthday in November.

But with only 32 days of time already served, Tenenboim will spend the important milestone behind bars.

Judge Johns said Tenenboim had “no moral compass” when he paid $144,638 to armed robbers and junkies for stolen jewellery — much of which would have been “priceless” or have sentimental value to its owners.

To continue reading, click here.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

Vic gold dealer jailed over stolen jewels

A Melbourne gold dealer jailed for melting down gold and jewellery says he feels great shame at his crimes being exposed.

Chey Tenenboim should have felt that shame when he was destroying the precious stolen items, the Victorian judge who jailed him on Wednesday says.

A Little Reported Donation of Kodak Shares, Congregation Chemdas Yisroel, Insider Trading and President Trump

As if the Outrageous Kodak Pivot to Pharma Wasn’t Absurd Enough… We Could Jokingly Commented: “All We Need is a Tax Deductible Donation to a Synagogue”

Kodak came up in an article we wrote in 2018 which is, we believe, relevant to the utter insanity of the recent Kodak transaction. Whomever concocted this folly deserves a prize for one of most creative ways to manipulate the financial markets amidst a pandemic. The greatest victims are Kodak shareholders and those unsavy investors who thought buying Kodak was a good idea. It wasn’t, unless you caught it JUST IN TIME. To do that, you had to be an Insider (with few exceptions).

Yesterday (7/28/20), President Trump surprised a LOT of people announcing that via the Defense Production Act (DPA) the US government is going to give Kodak (NYSE:KODK) $765 million to make pharmaceuticals. The tie to current COVID-19 pandemic issues, for which the Act was invoked, is at best tenuous. Somehow the announcement seems to be more about moving pharma production back to the USA. Which is why it left me, and a lot of others, asking, “why would you pick Kodak?” Seeking Alpha

Will Kodak Successfully Pivot Into Pharmaceuticals? I Doubt It

Trump’s ties to the Orthodox Jewish community is no surprise to those of us researching these topics. He did, after all, commute the sentence of Shalom Rubashkin, heavily tied to both the Chabad and the Satmar communities. This was undoubtedly a favor returned for the bloc vote, and likely other personal and professional benefits for friends and family.

Trump’s daughter and son-in-law have deep, heavily leveraged and big money ties to the Jewish community, most particularly as it connects to Chabad. Ivanka’s former business partner has millions in taxes forgiven by the Internal Revenue Service with many of us left to shake our heads. He was then accused of duping diamond dealers. It should be noted that Ivanka’s former partner denied he owed taxes. But then there’s the odd arson claim involving the same partner.

Jared Kushner’s ties to the power brokers within the religious real-estate mogulcommunity is heavily documented in numerous (questionable) transactions. He has lobbied for his personal success and his wishes have indeed been granted.

So, the only thing missing from the absurdity of the Kodak transaction was the

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Ukranian Oligarchs, Money Laundering, Impeachment Hearings, Real Estate Moguls and US President Trump?

The Ukranian Oligarchs, the Ties to the US Government, Power and Money 

Dear Reader, 

LM began investigating the story of the Ukranian Oligarchs deeply embedded in US political affairs in 2019 as part of the investigation into the arrest of other Ukranian nationals tied to the government.  Actually, the investigation started earlier when LM began looking into the Dan Gertler stories in 2016.

More recently, our inquiries have  included Rudolph Giuliani’s pursuit of business in the Ukraine. The Magnitsky Act sanctions against Gertler which were toppled by executive order (more on that in a later story) and now a recent investigation into Ukranian oligarchs heavily leveraged in a number of US states who allegedly laundered and stole billions of dollars.

The story about these men and their somewhat intricate ties to high level US Government officials included a number of significant news articles about Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s Interior Minister and Marie Yovanovitch (who, if you will recall was ousted from her position as the US ambassador to the Ukraine). We posit that Yovanovitch knew what was going on, wanted to put an end to the wholesale purchase of parts of the US to powers that be in the Ukraine and got tossed aside for that reason. Her testimony during the impeachment hearings likely missed far too much about what she knew than it brought to light. 

The information we uncovered along the way, we believe, should have been part of the US impeachment inquiry, which itself was unsuccessful; but only because of the political climate. The mistakes of that inquiry were far more about what was ignored during hearings than anything else, namely that likely all the President’s men were playing both sides of the Ukranian double-edged sword to establish relationships and with Ukranian power-brokers thereby yielding themselves significant political power and financial benefits. No politician worth his weight in corrupt political salt would have been immune to the money and power these connections could help wield.

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