The Jerusalem District Court has sentenced a haredi man to 17 months imprisonment and levied NIS 900,000 of asset forfeitures against him for defrauding the state of NIS 2.2 million by running fictitious yeshivas. Pinchas Zidman plead guilty to the charges and was convicted by the court on charges of aggravated fraud, false registration of documents, and money laundering. In the years 2012 to 2015, Zidman established several institutions of Torah learning which were registered as non-profit organizations. The institutions did indeed exist, but Zidman doubled the amount of students registered there to obtain larger grants from the Education Ministry by falsely registering foreign citizens as students at these institutions who did in fact not study there. Having secured these funds, Zidman and his associates sought to hide, disguise, and obscure the way they used the money, the identity of those making use of the funds, and where it was being used. “The court has accepted the position of the State Attorney that a person who steals state funds on a systematic and extended basis through fraudulent and deceitful means should get an extended prison sentence behind lock and key,” said Attorney Uri Goldstein, of the Jerusalem District State Attorney’s Office.