Swipe for Points Scheme, Part II – Store Cleared Out Entirely

Store in “Swipe for Points” Scheme Quietly Clears Out Merchandise

 

Sterling Electronics has been partially cleaned out in a quiet move Thursday night. Many Crown Heights residence witnessed as moving trucks pulled up to the store and workers began removing the merchandise from the shelves. This comes following the revelation of the stores involvement in the recent Credit Card “swipe for points” scandal that left many with tens of thousands, and some with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

by CrownHeights.info

CrownHeights.info has received multiple alerts from community members as moving trucks and multiple workers were seen emptying shelves and merchandise from the iconic Sterling Electronics store on Kingston Ave. Stories of harassment from the workers have surfaced, as they attempted to prevent people from taking photos during the Thursday night clean out.

The store can be seen in photos with some shelves bare, and the floor littered with boxes to be packed.

This follows the recent revelation of the “Swipe for Points” scandal that was broken here on CrownHeights.info, shining a light on the corruption behind the scandal in hopes of educating the public.

The scandal was based in the Sterling Electronics storefront on Kingston ave, and spilled over to an alleged buyout of the famous electronics store “The Buzz.” The buy turned out to never have been completed, leaving many wondering where the money went.

The premise of the scheme was rooted in the sometimes lucrative market of credit card points and rewards programs. From signup bonuses to spending goals that double rewards, many had allowed themselves to be lured into this risky practice in which they allow individuals and companies to use their lines of credits, with a promise of repayment, so that they can “manufacture spend.”

The “foolproof” scheme fell apart as the store, already in financial trouble following some alleged “bad business decisions,” became unable to pay its bills. In a last ditch effort to stay afloat, an additional charge was made on the credit cards. This time though, the store was unable to return the money from the charges made, leaving all the credit card owners with the debt.

The store has not reopened since the revelation of the nearly 4 Million dollar credit card scheme. Rumors that additional monies taken as personal loans were also involved in the scheme, could not be verified by CrownHeights.info.

The owner of Sterling Electronics, Gershey Nueman, was unable to be contacted, his

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY, CLICK HERE.

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Another Case of Money Laundering and Fraud – Lakewood, NJ and School For Handicapped Children

Corruption Of Public Resources And Money Laundering By The Founder Of A School For Handicapped Children?

It is not surprising that such corruption exists and that money laundering is prevalent throughout the United States.

However it is amazing that such cases appear with frequency in communities that place great emphasis on religious studies and trying to understand God’s will for their lives.

In these same New Jersey communities we also have had numerous cases of welfare fraud.

For some amazing reason those responsible will not be required to repay 100% of what they stole as recent reports such as this one from the Asbury Park Press indicates ….

https://www.app.com/…/medicaid-fraud-lakewood-n…/1679615002/

Which raises a question as to why the public is expected to pay for that which was stolen from them and is there no longer equal justice for all and special justice for none?

The defense in this latest trial has now started. We await with interest to hear the case presented by the defense.

A Platinum Schemer and a Jewelry Show, the Benefits of Privilege and the Opportunities that Await… in Hong Kong

Jona Rechnitz

A TRIP TO HONG KONG FOR A DIAMOND DEALER, WHO JUST HAPPENS TO ALSO BE AN ADMITTED FRAUDSTER AND CON-ARTIST. 

To Our Readers:

We saw this story and found it quite astonishing. Jona Rechnitz has admitted to guilt for numerous crimes, crimes of significant magnitude, for which at least one member of the Platinum family, just got sentenced to 30 months.

He has testified with a level of arrogance fit only for rich, entitled, unrepentant fraudsters, flippantly waiving around the word “truth” as if he knows the significance of its foundation in the English language and jurisprudence. He has been smug, lied, admitted to numerous infractions of morality, ethics and the law and now he asks to be allowed to Hong Kong to attend a jewelry show.

Have we lost our collective minds? Perhaps he wants to ask his friends and accomplices for a “bisel gelt” [a little bit of money] to buy something nice, or to grease the palms of someone who can? He is one of a group of white, privileged criminals running roughshod over the law.

Let’s not forget that his early career started with a position working for LevLeviev’s Africa Israel. Leviev, a diamond magnate in his own right, is unable to travel the world these days as a result of the criminal laws of multiple countries. It is unclear whether Rechnitz and his well-connected family has broken ties. And let’s be reminded that the Israeli justice system is trying to maneuver testimony from that same Leviev regarding a major diamond smuggling endeavor. 

And Judge Hellerstein is being asked by a begging Jona Rechnitz to attend a jewelry show in Hong Kong? And the prosecutor is agreeing on condition that Rechnitz’s wife surrender her passport? Has the prosecutor not thought this through?

The exchange for Rechnitz’s wife’s passport is but a joke, a circus stunt. Both Jona Rechnitz and his wife likely carry numerous passports and the surrender is thus insignificant. Moreover, the ideal guarantee that Rechnitz would return from the Hong Kong jewelry show without a new bank vault of difficult to trace assets would be to freeze all of his bank accounts while he is gone… and perhaps those of his family and all of their closest friends and associates. 

Judge Hellerstein, you got the Murray Huberfeld verdict right, please think about what is really going on here. You are being asked to help a very wealthy, entitled, dishonest and connected man get just a little bit wealthier. He has committed crimes. He should not be rewarded for his willingness to testify on behalf of the government when few can discern if his testimony was lies, truth or some combination of the two. 

Corrupt de Blasio donor begs judge to let him attend Hong Kong jewelry show

A Mayor de Blasio donor who is out on $500,000 bail pending his sentencing for bribing cops wants a judge to allow him to travel to Hong Kong for a jewelry show later this month, according to new court documents.

Jona Rechnitz — a government cooperator who testified at two corruption trials — is asking Manhattan federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein to allow him to travel for nine days starting Feb. 25 “to attend an international jewelry show” for business, lawyer Alan Levine wrote in a letter to Hellerstein.

During testimony, Rechnitz said he currently works in real estate and jewelry.

Prosecutors agreed to the request as long as Rechnitz’s wife turns over her passport.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

 

District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein Got It Right, Those Who Think Otherwise Are Missing the Point

Murray Huberfeld in November 2017 outside federal court

Murray Huberfeld in November 2017 outside federal court in lower Manhattan. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Dear Reader:

We believe, in no uncertain terms, that District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, got it very right to the extent of his available sentencing capacity when he sentenced Platinum founder Murray Huberfeld to 30 months and $19M.

Judge Hellerstein understood the magnitude of the crime that Huberfeld perpetrated on the COBA members. He was clearly aligned with he notion that you cannot punish the bribed without punishing the person or people who orchestrated the scheme underlying that bribe. And Platinum Partners in all its glory was a scheme. Hellerstein recognized that Huberfeld’s “conduct was not only corrupt and criminal, but led to the loss of millions of dollars of union retirement benefits,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.

According to the article in the Daily News

Prosecutors considered Huberfeld, who was the briber, less culpable than Seabrook, the bribe-taker. Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell noted that Seabrook had deceived the correction officers he represented.

“(Huberfeld) didn’t know the correction officers. They didn’t know him. He had no responsibility to them,” Bell said.

Huberfeld attorney Henry Mazurek insisted that his client had not known that Platinum was doomed at the time he paid the bribe. Rather, Huberfeld had sought out COBA — using crooked Mayor de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz as an intermediary — to boost his own status within the hedge fund.

For Assistant US Attorney, Martin Bell, to agree with Huberfeld’s attorneys is ridiculous. With all due respect it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of our financial system, a lack of clarity with regard to Huberfeld’s long history of trampling on our legal and financial system and a lack of disregard for the victims of Platinum’s fraud. US Attorney Martin Bell should be celebrating the work he did that led to Judge Hellerstein’s rulings, rather than giving impetus for a litany of appeals on the part of Marty Huberfeld. 

We applaud Judge Hellerstein’s comments with regard both to Huberfeld’s attorneys’ statements and if in agreement the statements of Bell when, as the Daily News states:

But Hellerstein called that argument “nonsense.” He held Seabrook, Rechnitz and Huberfeld jointly liable for the loss of the investment.

Hellerstein’s assessment of the absurdity of this argument speaks volumes.

Under legal regulatory guidelines a person who pedals an investment has a fiduciary duty to the investor, whether they know that investor or not. For a contrary argument to have even been raised highlights a lack of understanding of the SEC and the protections put in place to safeguard investments.

Were COBA to have been an ERISA fund, the fiduciary duty would have been greater. These were the livelihoods of people at stake, their futures and those of their children and grandchildren we placed at risk. And Murray Huberfeld knew it the moment he solicited the investment and bribed Norman Seabrook to transfer funds. The COBA investments and the fiduciary duty of Platinum’s partners and Norman Seabrook are the very foundation of investment policy. And they are no less legally bound.

The bribery and fraud underlying the loss of those investments was criminal. It lacked moral boundaries, put the foundation of the US financial system at risk and raises questions regarding the safeguards in place for investors.

Assistant US Attorney Martin Bell’s comments, if not taken out of context in the various new articles, increases the magnitude of the risks that Huberfeld and those like him pose to investors, if appropriate punishments are not levied.

LI hedge fund founder gets 30 months in prison in bribery case

A hedge fund founder from Lawrence who was part of a scheme to bribe the leader of New York City’s correction officers union to invest $20 million in his firm was sentenced to 30 months in prison Tuesday, officials said. His attorney vowed to appeal the term.

Murray Huberfeld, 57, who founded Platinum Partners hedge fund, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in connection with the transfer of $60,000 that prosecutors said was used to bribe Norman Seabrook, the former president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, to invest tens of millions in Platinum.

In all, the union lost $19 million of its $20 million investment with Platinum. As much as $15 million was from a retirement benefits program funded by the City of New York that invests money for correction officers’ retirements.

Huberfeld pleaded guilty in May to wire fraud conspiracy. Specifically, he pleaded to conspiring with Jona Rechnitz, a real estate businessman and star government witness in several federal corruption trials, to cause Huberfeld’s hedge fund to pay $60,000 to Rechnitz’s company by falsely representing that the money was payment for courtside tickets to eight New York Knicks basketball games.

Prosecutors said that money was really intended for Seabrook, a payment for making the investment of the union’s funds. Rechnitz had testified in Seabrook’s trial that he delivered $60,000 in cash to Seabrook in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag in 2014 after the union’s funds were invested with Platinum.

“Not content with being a successful businessman, Murray Huberfeld sought to grow his fund through fraud and deception, playing a critical role in a pernicious kickback scheme,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a statement. “His conduct was not only corrupt and criminal, but led to the loss of millions of dollars of union retirement benefits. The sentence imposed today reflects the magnitude of his crimes and untold pain his conduct caused to others.”

To read the article in its entirety click here.

A Platinum Enterprise – Bad Press not Fraudulent Transactions Tanked the Fund

FROM LAW 360

Law360 is a Subscription Only site so we are unable to provide you with the entirety of the article. The Headline is as follows:

Platinum Exec Wants Trial Halted Pending Media Leak Review

We will provide you with a few brilliant highlights in the hope that we are withing the site’s copyright protections; and the we recommend that you subscribe to that site for a constant stream of information, related not only to Platinum, if you are so inclined. There is a wealth of information.

And this is not a paid advertisement. 

Law360 (February 7, 2019, 9:09 PM EST) — Platinum Partners founder Mark Nordlicht asked a Brooklyn federal judge on Thursday to stop the fraud case against him from going to trial until the Second Circuit can review his latest mandamus petition that includes allegations that a prosecutor leaked grand jury information to the media.
Nordlicht, the chief investment officer for the defunct investment firm, has argued damaging stories about Platinum contributed to the failure of its funds, not misconduct by him and co-defendants.
Lawyers for Nordlicht have said the emails, which show reporters from several outlets arranging drinks and meetings with former Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Paes, strongly suggest Paes provided information about the Platinum investigation that appeared before Nordlicht’s arrest. The government has said the letters don’t evidence a grand jury leak at all, however, and Paes hasn’t responded to comment requests.

We would like it to be known that we did not speak to anyone associated with the Prosecution’s case. We think that the Prosecution is missing information that would make the case even stronger and we would be glad to provide it. We don’t need anything to come to the conclusions we have drawn. It is all out there in public filings.

It did not take a rocket scientist, or even someone particularly savvy to figure out that Platinum and its associated funds were engaging in what was tantamount to a Ponzi Scheme over the course of many, many years. We have pages and pages of research from publicly available sources, subscription sources and our own analysis and we could likely mount a pretty significant case for the allegations for which he is charged and others which may or may not be embedded in the initial charges. 

We would be more than happy to provide assistance. We feel Nordlicht is getting off easy. If the press is blamed for the failure of Platinum’s fund, then some Judge is not doing his or her homework. Investors lost millions and Mark Nordlicht cannot cry poverty. It’s an unfortunate scenario.

And if he gets off easy, it further substantiates our consistent claims (to Norman Seabrook regarding the color of his skin and his lack of political clout) and so many others on this blog, that people are being bought.

Can’t someone bring a modicum of integrity to the system?

The Request for Extradition of Two Alleged Fraudsters Who Have Been Free for Too Long

Aryeh Greenes (L) and Aviv Mizrahi. (Courtesy FBI)

Aryeh Greenes (L) and Aviv Mizrahi. (Courtesy FBI)

Israel asks court to okay extradition of accused bank fraudsters to US

The state prosecution on Thursday filed a request with the Jerusalem District Court to allow the extradition of two men accused by the US of participating in a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme.

Aviv Mizrahi and Aryeh Greenes, both US citizens, have been charged with defrauding California banks for $33 million between 2004-2008.

The FBI has said the two fled to Israel to escape arrest.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

 

 

The Platinum Ponzi – Seabrook, Huberfeld, Orthodox, Pre-Ordained Wealth versus Self-Made… Prison?

rechnitz-seabrook-300x214

Seabrook, a Relatively non-Savvy, non-Orthodox Jew up Against a System Rigged to Keep the Orthodox Out of Prison or in Ottisville

Dear Reader:

We believe that if anyone deserves a lengthy prison sentence for the COBA investment scheme and subsequent losses the members incurred, it is the person or people responsible for the sham investment strategy in which Seabrook invested. Norman Seabrook should not be standing alone. Seabrook was enticed to Platinum by Murray Huberfeld, Jona Rechnitz, Jeremy Reichberg and others connected past or present to Platinum Partners on promises of extraordinarily high returns. He was bated, hook, line and sinker.

We believe that while Seabrook may have sold out the people entrusted by him to maintain the safety of their investments, he was simply too lacking in savvy to know how artfully he was duped. He was drawn in by the glitz, glamour and ego- stroking of those who bribed him to invest in their fund. They knew he was going to lose his shirt and the investments of every one of the COBA members. Anyone who thinks differently simply does not know the dynamic. We would tend to believe that the entire affair has left him far from penniless and those for whose investments he was responsible should be outraged. But, he was not the person they should have trusted to do the investing. He had motive, opportunity and not enough smarts to run in the opposite direction.

Perhaps Norman Seabrook should have asked himself some more intelligent questions like why they were pushing such a hard sell. Why was he being brought to Israel and treated like a king? Why were Orthodox Jews, who really are generally quite “anti-schvartze” (racist, to put it kindly) spending so much time wooing him? The reality is, “tachlis” (in not so many words), the Orthodox men who were responsible for Platinum, its years of scheming and defrauding investors, likely had numerous laughs over all of the people they conned and continue to scam, Seabrook being the black man who worked his way to the top, an admirable quality but still a Shvartze. 

To our point, quoting from Too Good to Be True  about the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff and speaking on the subject of Ezra Merkin, one of Madoff’s earliest investors, Erin Arvedlund writes: “Wall Street is just twenty guys selling each other stuff, while some schwartzer in the basement does all the work,” Merkin would joke privately. Publicly, however, Merkin acted like a Wall Street sage.” Seabrook could be described as a step up from the guy in the basement; but likely there are those who are still finding his involvement a point of good humor, particularly those who are facing lighter sentences than Seabrook.

Sadly, he lavished in the lifestyle they were offering him. One can almost hardly blame him. The men who enticed him are practiced con artists, with a lifetime of experience, born into privilege and by no means altruistic or compassionate. They are responsible for duping the members of COBA who have lost millions and ultimately it is because of them that those members will likely NEVER recover all of their losses. Seabrook wanted his palms greased and in exchange thought he’d increase a portfolio of assets. Platinum knew they were taking money that would cover other losses and it is each and every one of those men for whom the Court’s contempt should be obvious, swift and harsh. The Platinum Partners’ partners were lacking in conscience and compassion when they destroyed the COBA investments and it is they in our view who should pay harshly. But will they? White, Jewish, privileged and politically well-connected, probably they will not. 

Norman Seabrook, in all of his arrogance as seen in photographs was as much a victim as he was a perpetrator. Sadly, if he had a true “in” with the Chabad/Orthodox community with whom he was fraternizing, he would be sitting with Murray Huberfeld, facing far less time. The color of his skin, the lack of privilege in multiple forms, and the lack of Orthodox providence says a lot in our view.

One must wonder if anyone not connected to the Orthodox community in Brooklyn or NYC can ever have an even remotely fair shake, and that includes Norman Seabrook.