9] In 1999 too, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that "the Jewish community in Poland is being wracked by a scandal that has forced the country's umbrella Jewish organization to fire its treasurer and downgrade the status of the Jewish communities of Gdansk and Poznan... Jewish organizations tried to keep the affair quiet. " [GRUBER, R., p. 9] That same year, Wolfgang Schnur, founder of the "Democratic Awakening" political party and "a leader of the democracy movement that toppled communism in East Germany 10 years ago, " was "detained on fraud charges after trying to cash phony securities at a Berlin bank.
" Harvey Waldman filed suit alleging that the temple's rabbi and other congregants took kickbacks "on a profit of more than $20 million" in a cemetery land scheme. [CATTAN, N., 3-27-01, p. 9] In 2000, Jean Thorbourn, a bookkeeper and financial consultant for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles was charged with "embezzling more than $1 million from the institution -- some of which was apparently used to finance the production of independent films.
An additional $62, 000 was withdrawn in cash at ATMS... About $700, 000 had passed through the fund during the 11 years Maltzman administered it, [but] only about $20, 000 could be identified as having gone to charities. " [MURPHY, C., 5-10-01, p. B2] In 1999, a Cincinnati rabbi, Jacob Lustig of congregation Kneseth Israel, was found guilty of skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars of profits from a series of synagogue bingo games spread across three counties in 19 storefronts. "The instant bingo, " noted the Associated Press, "took in more than $1 million in 1996 and 1997, but his congregation received only $250, 000 of that. Lustig and his associates (Gerel Payne, Ralph Lipsky, and Sam Semet) avoided prison time, although Lustig was ordered to surrender $920, 000. The Cincinnati Enquirer noted that "Judge Cartolano said the lack of cooperation from the congregation, which still supports the rabbi, was a problem for prosecutors.
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A3] In 1998, the National Jewish Council of Jewish Women made the news again, this time in Denver, where its treasurer of 14 years, Ellen Bloch, was found to have embezzled over $150, 000. [SORAGHAN, p. B12] In England, that same year, the (London) Independent headlined a story "Chief Rabbi Rocked by Fraud Scandal. " Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is "seen by many Jews and non-Jews as the spiritual center of British Jewry... is technically the Chief Rabbi only of the United Synagogue, the main Orthodox movement with 70 congregations in the United Kingdom.
He pled guilty to criminal charges in the early 1960's after being caught with stolen brass. On February 16, 1977 he was fined $34, 000 after pleading guilty to three counts of falsifying company records... Another time police found a portion of four tons of stolen copper at Lax's property... People remembered him as an oddball who was physically filthy and would inadvertently spit upon listeners when he became animated in conversation. (This was normally Yiddish; Lax avoided speaking English throughout most of his life in Canada)... Money allowed Morris Lax one luxury.
'He sits on an ethics committee. " [ACLE, A., 5-7-98] In Canada, in 1989, Patricia Starr "was facing revelations in the Toronto media that she had channeled more than $82, 000 of charitable funds from the local branch of the National Council of Jewish Women, of which she was president, to Liberal and Conservative politicians and to Liberal activists. The Federal Income Tax Act prohibited charities from making such contributions, and Ontario legislation limits the size of individual donations that a politician can accept. " [KAIHLA, p. 12] Starr also pleaded guilty to lying to receive an unwarranted $357, 000 from the local government for her Jewish organization, of which she personally stole $33, 000. [BRENT, p.
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He fled to Israel after being caught defrauding the city out of $7, 000. [UPI, 12-22-88] * Nahum Vaskevitch. In 1994, this former head of the international mergers and acquisitions for Merrill Lynch in London absconded to Israel after an illegal "insider trader" scheme netted him $4 million. Fellow conspirator David Sofer was also Israeli. [APPELSON] * Ilan Mayan. In 1987, Mayan murdered a man in Los Angeles and fled to Israel, but was later arrested in Switzerland. [LA TIMES, 6- 25-87] * Daniel Weiz. Weiz fled to Israel from Toronto after being charged with second-degree murder. "Police have described the case as a random assault by a group wearing ski masks. " [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12-15-99] * Natchum Gal. "In Alberta [Canada] in 1982, " noted the Toronto Star, "Dr. Natchum Gal turned off the respirator sustaining a brain- damaged newborn girl and authorized a nurse to administer 15 milligrams of morphine.
He moves from position to position, group to group. His only constant attachments are to this mother and his children. He leaves a trail of people behind him who wonder why they didn't see the too many finely tailored shirts, the monograms. Later, you remember he was: a subtle name dropper. A whit too polished (his shoes, his nails, etc. He borrows the heritage of his married-into family, their friends, their places, their clubs.
" [WESTPHAL, S., 3-11-2000, p. B1] In 2001, rabbis Jacob Bronner and Efroim Stein "pleaded guilty to defrauding the US government of part of a $2. 5 million federal grant intended to aid Holocaust survivors. " The two men embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. [HENRY, M., 2-16-01, p. 4] In Canada, scrap metal millionaire Morris Lax was the victim of an unsolved murder in 1993. Guy Crittenden notes "the closed-shop nature of the scrap business" and that "Even Lax supporters don't deny he was crooked (though perhaps not more so than some others in the business).
" Most were elderly, living in Florida. The criminal investigation against Weiss "followed a five year criminal investigation across nine states and led to dozens of indictments. " On October 18, 1999, Weiss skipped his $500, 000 bail bond and a New York court sentencing, thereby making the FBI's Most-Wanted list.
A1] The National Council of Jewish Women itself faced 22 court charges for various legal infractions; they were dropped, however, because -- in the words of the government prosecutor: "It would have been like having the same trial [as Starr's] all over again. I don't think that would serve the public interest. " [DEVERELL, p.
opened up an investigation into the handling of a charity fund at one of the Washington area's largest synagogues [Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland], after its senior rabbi reimbursed $300, 000 to the fund because of questions about how he had used the account. " The rabbi, Jonathan Maltzman, "transferred more than $220, 000 from the charity fund to his brokerage account at Fidelity; used $7, 950 from the fund for his child's b'nai mitzvah parties; and used about $11, 500 to pay his self-employment taxes.
" Suddenly he was "embroiled in deepening turmoil. " Police were investigating "allegations of fraud at Jewish cemeteries in east London" and "the disappearance of highly valuable texts from a religious library. " [KOSSOFF, p. 6] In 2001, the Jewish Chronicle noted another Jewish cemetery escapade: "an ugly real estate battle between a New Jersey synagogue and its former cantor [that] has begun to focus on a larger question of whether congregants benefitted from unethical business relationships they formed as synagogue benefactors.