Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Spinka Rabbi indicted in tax fraud and money laundering scheme in LA

The head of an Orthodox Jewish group has been indicted in what authorities say is a sophisticated tax fraud and money laundering scheme.

Federal prosecutors say Naftali Tzi Weisz, 59, was arrested along with several associates in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning.

Weisz is the Grand Rabbi of Spinka, an Orthodox Jewish sect.

Authorities say he helped solicit millions of dollars in contributions to Spinka charitable groups by promising to secretly refund up to 95 percent of the donations. That way the contributors could falsely claim higher tax deductions.

Weisz is from Brooklyn, New York, where the charitable organizations are based.

He was expected to appear in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon. He faces charges including conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.


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