New Yorkers charged with pocketing aid for Israel

Four people are accused that they used more than $2.5m. in donations to 19 charities for personal expenses.

By JTA
June 28, 2013 18:47
1 minute read.
Pro Israel Rally in New York 521

Pro Israel Rally in New York 521. (photo credit: brendan mcdermid / reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

New York state’s attorney general accused four New Yorkers of pocketing more than $2.5 million in donations for charitable projects in Israel.

The New York Times on Friday named four defendants from Brooklyn: Yaakov Weingarten, 52, and his wife Rivka, 52; and two of his employees: Simon Weiss, 28, and David Yifat, 66.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general, said the four “brazenly abused the generosity of the public” by using more than $2.5 million raised in donations for personal expenses from 2007 to 2013.

A lawsuit was filed Thursday against the defendants in the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, the Times reported. Weingarten’s lawyer, Sheldon Eisenberger, did not respond to a message left by the Times with his receptionist.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants collected money for 19 charities they were running. The charities had buzzwords in their names intended to appeal to Jews eager to help Israel, the Times reported.

Only a small amount of the donated money actually wound up in Israel, the Times reported. The defendants bounced at least 2,100 checks and wasted $65,000 of charitable donations in overdraft fees, Schneiderman charged. The lawsuit asked the court to close some charities managed by the defendants; it did not immediately address the issue of repayment.

Schneiderman said the defendants spent the money on home mortgages, the remodeling of a second home, car loans, dentist visits, video rentals and a trip to the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, among other expenses.



The lawsuit accuses the defendants of “preying on a vulnerable public’s charitable instincts, and in particular the charitable impulses that many persons of the Jewish faith have for Israel.”

Among the organizations named in the lawsuit are Bnei Torah, Magen Israel and the Israel Leukemia and Cancer Society. Only two of the 19 entities were even registered in Israel, Schneiderman said. The solicitations also used “doctored photographs” of workers and equipment belonging to actual Israeli emergency organizations, the complaint said.

Schneiderman’s office would not say whether criminal charges were also forthcoming.

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF