Man indicted for embezzling funds raised for Schalit

Ronen Bar-Shira claimed money was meant to help captive soldier, Carmel fire victims; will be tried for 14 counts of fraud, money laundering.

Ronen Bar-Shira was indicted on Thursday for claiming to raise money for Carmel fire victims and the Schalit family.
Bar-Shira raised NIS 1.25m, and is being tried for 14 counts fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and other crimes.
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In Bar-Shira's remand hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court earlier this month, Supt. Lior Reiss told the court about his and suspect Mordechai Ben- David's alleged involvement in additional scams. It was also revealed that a third man, who has yet to be identified, was arrested for involvement in the sting.
“These suspects – as well as others who worked alongside them, some of whom are currently in custody – operated in a number of arenas and in two major methods,” Reiss said.
“One was defrauding donors who contributed to public goals – taking advantage of causes that are in consensus, like the Gilad Schalit flotilla, the Carmel forest fire disaster and others.
“The second method was conning moshavim and kibbutzim – promising that they would raise millions of dollars for them and [then] taking money out of their accounts, supposedly to pay mediators – but never bringing in any donations,” he added. “Unfortunately [Bar-Shira] is also suspected of attempting to defraud the Rambam Medical Center Emergency Department – which treated the Carmel Fire casualties, including Asst.- Cmdr. Ahuva Tomer – promising to take them on a trip using money raised for the cause.”

He said Bar-Shira is suspected of being behind a similar fraud that took place before last year’s Free Gilad Schalit protest march.
“[Bar-Shira] said in his first interrogation that money raised by him was deposited in a bank account of a company called El El Israel – an account belonging to his wife – and that the money was deposited there because he had to pay for the bus rental immediately,” Reiss said.
“Those very payments were actually split in two, with some of the money coming from El El Israel, and the rest from the Maor Foundation – which is the legitimate foundation dealing with the Gilad Schalit campaign.