Haredi man walking.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office Civil Division is suing a range of ultra-Orthodox- linked entities known as “Kehillat Hamatmidim” and their owners for NIS 52,236,952 for allegedly defrauding the state into paying them subsidies, including by forging 1,500 ID cards.
The alleged fraud occurred between 2008 and 2010 and added up to NIS 43,000,000. It amounts to NIS 52,236,952 when taking into account interest.
According to the complaint, the 36 defendants filed numerous false requests with the Education Ministry on behalf of the entities using different names that appeared to have different owners and different locations.
In reality, the lawsuit alleges, all of the “different” entities and owners were straw companies for a smaller number of entities and owners who controlled all of them and received all of the state funds.
To deceive the Education Ministry, the complaint says, the defendants submitted forged documents to make it appear as if they were educational institutions operating according to law.
The forged documents included the forged Interior Ministry ID cards, and the false representations included lists of students who were not in fact students at the institutions.
In one case of a snap inspection, the defendants brought some of the persons whose faces were used on false ID cards to the education institution being inspected and gave them their false ID cards to try to convince the inspector that they were real students even as the persons had not been at the institution previously.
Many of the defendants listed were previously indicted in a criminal case in 2012, with this civil damages case following the earlier case in parallel.