Reifman gets 4 years for fraud

Former Emblaze chairman sentenced for acts of deception; Reifman’s fraudulent activities allegedly resulted in two attempts on his life.

eli reifman emblaze 248 88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
eli reifman emblaze 248 88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced on Sunday Eli Reifman, the co-founder and former chairman of Emblaze (LSE:BLZ.L), to six years imprisonment for fraud, forgery and using forged documents.
Reifman was also ordered to pay compensation of $6.3 million to the complainants.
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Despite his success as a businessman, Reifman “committed crimes against innocent people,” Judge Rozen said.
Reifman used his reputation as an able businessman to commit acts of deception, the judge added.
According to the indictment, filed in 2009, Reifman used forged documents in two separate cases claiming he owned Emblaze shares to fraudulently obtain $6.3 million in loans from two foreign investment capital funds.
On one occasion, Reifman forged a document to deceive Winton Capital Holdings Ltd. into believing he owned nine million Emblaze shares.
Prosecution witness Yitzhak Asher of Double U Trading Fund testified that his company loaned Reifman $3 million as a result of the forged documents.
In contrast to this large-scale fraud, Judge Rozen noted that the 41-year-old Reifman had a clean record, and a successful past as a businessman and philanthropist.
The former head of production at the IDF’s Training Development Center, Reifman has been lauded in the international press as a dotcom visionary.
In 1994, he co-founded Emblaze, formerly GEO Interactive Media, and four years later the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange.
However, Reifman’s fraudulent activities allegedly resulted in two attempts on his life. In 2009, a motorcyclist fired two shots at Reifman as he left Emblaze’s offices and in 2010 more shots were fired at the businessman’s Kadima home.
In sentencing Reifman on Sunday, Judge Rozen said that the businessman’s extensive philanthropic activities were a mitigating factor in his sentence.
Among the defense witnesses brought by Reifman’s attorneys was Amos Gever, Haifa University’s vice president of external relations, who said that Reifman was a “humble” man who had donated $500,000 to the university.
Reifman contributed tens of million of shekels to various causes and invested considerable time in community activities, including lecturing to students on a pro-bono basis.
Reifman also contributed tens of thousands of dollars to education in the periphery and to various other charities.
“This information must and should stand in favor of the defendant on this day of sentencing,” Judge Rozen noted.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.