Man gets 8 yrs for forging invoices worth millions

Defendant avoided punishment 15 years by convincing doctors he was suffering from a serious psychiatric complaint.

Court gavel justice judge legal law 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Court gavel justice judge legal law 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Fifteen years after he was first indicted, the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced meat and poultry wholesaler Gavriel Ravi Cohen to eight years in prison and fined him NIS 1 million on Tuesday, after finding him guilty of forging millions of shekels worth of invoices in the 1990s and 2000s. According to the indictment, Cohen falsified invoices totaling around NIS 46m. and made fictitious bookkeeping entries and Tax Authority returns worth around NIS 57m.
The original indictment against Cohen was served in the Haifa Magistrate’s Court in 1997, but the defendant managed to convince doctors he was suffering from a serious psychiatric complaint, the State Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday. Cohen was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility, and the legal proceedings against him were dropped. He was later released from hospital, and by 2004, the authorities suspected he had started to forge invoices again. The Tel Aviv district attorney refiled the original indictment in the Tel Aviv District Court, and served a new indictment with additional charges in the Haifa Magistrate’s Court. In the district court trial in 2004, Cohen claimed he was still mentally ill, and tried to have the proceedings terminated again. However, this time he was examined by a number of district psychiatrists who reported that he was faking and that he was not and never had been suffering from a psychiatric illness.
Tel Aviv District Court Judge Oded Mudrik sentenced Cohen on both indictments, and said the defendant had done “everything possible to disrupt the criminal trial.”
The trial had dragged on for years, the judge noted, because the defendant had managed to delay things with “hospitalizations, questionable claims and disrupted court hearings.”
The court dismissed Cohen’s claim that he had not been responsible for the delays, saying that it was “cynical and disingenuous.”
“The defendant was not only able to deceive the tax authorities, but also psychiatric experts,” the judge said.