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.

 

 

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)

 

Quebec, Canada and the Battle with Government over Education and Obligations to Children

Yohanan Lowen, right, and his wife, Shifra, are taking the Quebec government to court. They are seen here outside their Montreal apartment in 2017. (Benjamin Shingler/CBC)

Ex-Hasidic couple’s battle with Quebec government over education to go to trial

Yohanen and Shifra Lowen, former Hasidic Jews who claim the Quebec government didn’t do enough to ensure they received a proper education, will finally get their day in court — a year from now.

A trial pitting the Lowens against the province has been set for Feb. 10, 2020 in Quebec Superior Court, five years after they first filed a lawsuit against the province.

Their lawyer, Clara Poissant-Lespérance, said its outcome will be pivotal in determining the government’s obligations towards children educated in religious communities.

“The trial will give an answer to those very important questions about if the government did enough to make sure children receive a proper education,” she said.

The Lowens are seeking a declaratory judgment which, if they win, would force the province to take steps to ensure children in religious communities are taught the provincial curriculum.

Named in the lawsuit are the provincial government and Hasidic schools in their home community of Tash, a secluded ultra-orthodox Hasidic community in Boisbriand, Que., about 30 kilometres from Montreal.

Representatives from the local school board, the province and youth protection services will be called to testify.

 

Yohanen Lowen alleges that, when he finished school at 18, he could barely add or subtract, couldn’t read and write in English or in French, and was left unequipped to find work.

He broke ties with his home community a decade ago and now lives in Montreal with his wife and four children. He is unemployed and is still working toward his high school diploma.

To continue reading click here.

Cheesy Canadian Company Gets Fined for Unkosher Behavior

cheese-banner

 

Food company busted for selling phony ‘kosher’ cheese to kids

 

A Canadian food company was ordered to pay more than $19,000 for selling cheese falsely labeled kosher to Jewish youth campers, authorities said Monday.

Creation Foods Company in Woodbridge, Ontario pleaded guilty in provincial court and was hit with the penalty of $25,000 Canadian, or $19,417 in US dollars, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The incident — called a “spiritual poisoning” by a key Canadian kosher administrator — is believed to be the first case involving phony kosher food ever brought to provincial court.

“We’re very pleased and gratified that the Canadian justice system was diligent in prosecuting this crime,” Richard Rabkin, managing director of kosher certifying agency the Kashruth Council of Canada (COR), told The Post on Monday.

“It was a milestone, a first and we hope the last.”

The phony kosher cheese was delivered to two camps in northern Ontario in summer 2015, according to COR.

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s investigation determined that the company sold a non-kosher food product to two Jewish youth camps, by means of a forged kosher certificate,” according to a CFIA statement.

“The cheese sold to both camps did not meet the requirements of the kashruth.”

Reps for Creation Foods did not return messages seeking their comments on Monday.

The two camps involved were sent loads of mozzarella and cheddar. The mozzarella had proper COR certification but the cheddar did not.

And when camp officials asked for proof, that’s when the fake letters of kosher authenticity were used, Rabkin said.

It’s unclear whether campers actually ate the non-kosher cheddar.

Even if that cheese were physically safe, it was a moral affront to sell it to Jewish customers knowing it wasn’t kosher, according to Rabkin — calling it a “spiritual poisoning.”

The key in making kosher cheese comes from enzyme used to coagulate milk into cheese.

To read the remainder of the article in the NYPost click here.

If the Haredi are Forced to Comply in Canada, They Will Relocate to the US

sebastien-proulx-philippe-couillard-j-michel-doyonEducation Minister Sébastien Proulx

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM CANADA – BE DILIGENT ENFORCE THE LAWS

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM CANADA – FEAR THEIR ENFORCEMENT AS THOSE UNDER SCRUTINY WILL RELOCATE TO THE US.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM CANADA’S SATMAR LEADER ALEX WERZBERGER – SO WHAT THAT THE TEACHERS DON’T HAVE COLLEGE DEGREES? OUR TEACHERS PROBABLY KNOW MORE THAN THOSE WHO DO….

canadian flag.jpg

“Satmar community leader Alex Werzberger, whose daughters attended Beth Esther, told The CJN the school has tried and continues to try to meet the law’s requirements, but Chassidim will not compromise their religious beliefs. This means they won’t teach certain subjects, such as the mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC) or sex education, or even certain literature or scientific theories.

“There’s no way that’s going to happen. If worse comes to worst, we’ll move to the [United] States,” he said

As for the teachers’ lack of credentials, Werzberger said: “They come from our own community. They have not gone to college, but they know English, French, math and so on. They probably know more than those who are certified.””

 

The Canadian Jewish News:

SOME HAREDI SCHOOLS STILL NOT COMPLYING WITH LAW: REPORT

http://www.cjnews.com/news/canada/haredi-schools-still-not-complying-law-report

MONTREAL – Although some chassidic and other haredi schools are making progress in conforming to the law, at least two continue to fail to meet minimal requirements, according to a report to the Quebec education ministry by its advisory group on private education.

The 2014-2015 annual report of the Commission consultative de l’enseignement privé (CCEP), made public in May, cites the most serious problems with Beth Esther Academy and Yeshiva Gedola Merkaz Hatorah.

The CCEP recommended that Beth Esther’s permit, which was revoked in 2012, not be reissued.

However, despite pressure from the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec, Education Minister Sébastien Proulx has decided to allow Beth Esther and Yeshiva Gedola to continue to operate, because it is “in the interest of the children.” The government, he said in the National Assembly, will continue to work with the schools to correct the situation.

His ministry rejected the recommendation of the CCEP and renewed Yeshiva Gedola’s permit for another year, which ends this June.

READ: NEW HEBREW U PROGRAMS TARGET DISABILITY, HAREDI ISSUES

Among other breaches, the CCEP said the Satmar elementary and high school for girls is not adequately teaching the province’s compulsory curriculum, known as the Régime pédagogique, in terms of either content or hours, and its teachers are unqualified.

After operating for decades under the radar, the school, founded in 1956, was told in 2003 it had to have a permit, and four years later was granted one on the condition it rectify numerous problems that the ministry identified.

In 2014-2015, Beth Esther had 304 students and 24 teachers, of whom only two held a licence recognized by Quebec.

To continue reading click here.