Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Spinka arrests UPDATE --- Spiritual Leader Arrested In Tax Fraud, Money Laundering Case

The leader of an Orthodox Jewish group was arrested Wednesday morning along with several others on suspicion of tax fraud and laundering money through an Israeli bank and several business in the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles.

Naftali Tzi Weisz, the 59-year-old Grand Rabbi of Spinka, and Gabbai Moshe E. Zigelman, 60, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., were named Tuesday in a federal grand jury's 37-count indictment in Los Angeles.

The indictment, unsealed Wednesday morning, claims that Weisz and Zigelman promised to secretly refund up to 95 percent of millions of dollars of contributions to several Spinka charities.

The contributors could claim the full amount for tax deductions, even though they gave as little as five percent of the amount declared on federal income tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

One method Weisz and Zigelman allegedly used to issue the secret refunds was by an underground money transfer network involving other parties, including businesses in and around the jewelry district.

Several defendants named in Tuesday's indictment were arrested Wednesday morning: Yaacov Zeivald, 43, of Valley Village; and Los Angeles residents Yosef Nachum Naiman, 55, and 43-year-old Alan Jay Friedman. Another defendant allegedly involved in the jewelry district-based underground network is 60-year- old Los Angeles resident Moshe Arie Lazar, who is believed to be in Israel.

Another method prosecutors claim Weisz and Zigelman used to cheat IRS was by wiring transfers from Spinka-controlled entities into secret accounts at an Israeli bank. The indictment names Joseph Roth, 66, and attorney Jacob Ivan Kantor, 71, both of Tel Aviv, as participants in this scheme.

Roth allegedly helped American contributors get loans from the Los Angeles branch of the Israeli bank, so the money could be used in the United States. Prosecutors claim that the contributors also could hire Spinka to help secretly repatriate the money into the United States in exchange for an additional money-laundering fee after the money was placed in the secret accounts at the Israeli bank.

Roth was arrested in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning. Kantor is believed to be in Israel.

Weisz and Zigelman are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, 19 counts of mail fraud, 11 counts of international money laundering, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of operating an illegal money remitting business.

Zigelman is also charged with two counts of aiding in the preparation of false federal income tax returns.

Roth is charged in both conspiracy counts; several counts of mail fraud and several international money laundering counts. Kantor is charged in the conspiracy counts and several international money laundering counts.

Zeivald, Lazar, Naiman and Friedman are charged in the main conspiracy count and with operating an illegal money remitting business. Zeivald is also charged with one count of mail fraud.

If convicted, all face long prison terms.

Five Spinka charities were also named as defendants: Yeshiva Imrei Yosef, Yeshivath Spinka, Central Rabbinical Seminary, Machne Sva Rotzohn and Mesivta Imrei Yosef Spinka. These charities are alleged to have used fraudulent receipts for bogus charitable contributions and benefited from fees charged of transfers of funds as part of the money laundering conspiracy.

Weisz, Zigelman, Roth, Zeivald, Naiman and Friedman are scheduled to make their initial appearances Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles. All six were arrested in the Los Angeles area Wednesday morning.


didnt any one learn from rabbi lowe that crime doesnt pay??????


The people involved have enough trouble already. Leave them alone. Mind your own business for a change. And stop hurting their families and those around them.


Friedman is out on bail. The court is handeling now with the Spinka. The indictment list a confidential informant as 'RK'... some are saying its Robert Kassirer of Beverly Hills (indicted a while back for stealing millions) who is the son of the late Yankel Kassirer O"H who is turning over in his grave right about now. V'Lamalshinim Al Tehi Sikvu!!! Ah Broch!!!


Would you go to jail for 20 years protecting a Rebbe/Crook? Or would you cooperate with a malchis shel chesed government?


Is the indictment public? If so, where is it posted?


Whether one is or is not permitted (and perhaps sometimes required) to cooperate with the government is an issue one should address with his rov. The fact that the US government is a malchis shel chesed doesn't mean that the halacha will permit mesirah. Similarly, the fact that if these folks did what they are accused of doing then they are common criminals but that doesn't mean that halachah doesn't protect them.

As far as people turning over in their graves, I can assure that if he has done what is accused, the Spinka's zeidas are doing 360s in the graves right now.


why are you all jumping to conclusions, was he found guilty by a jury of their piers speaking of which, i dont think it will ever get to that cuz our "malchis shel chesed" is not so chesed the malchis shel not so chesed will use any technique to make their case and try to break them thru manipulation, play on their fear etc. and try to push them to take a deal like they do with most cases since they have much more power then the defendants, i just hope they dont have a strong case against acheinu bnie yisroel




Folks! PLEEEZE watch what you say. Please assume the FBI is reading every post. This is horrible enough. Make sure we do not add fuel to the fire.


"Please assume the FBI is reading every post."

All the more reason to make it clear that such actions are not acceptable by yidden.


December 19 2007
"All the more reason to make it clear that such actions are not acceptable by yidden."

Just don't be an oiber chochom.


In the Skver case there were people that sat rather than MASER. You are NOT allowed to Maser. Not to many people would withstand it but some did


"Would you go to jail for 20 years protecting a Rebbe/Crook? Or would you cooperate with a malchis shel chesed government?"

According to Halacha you have to though I only know one person who did. (It wasn't twenty years though)


innocent until proven guilty


9:11 - "jury of their piers." This case is already underwater.


Should we not now refer to him as the "Spinster Rebbe"?


"malchis shel chesed government"
The Government is indeed a very kind and gentle one.

but from your comment I see that you never had a chance to taste the "sweet" justice & correction system of the malchis shel chesed government...

it ain't no fun!


Def we should remember inocent until proven guilty

Now I do think financial crimes in this country carry to crazy jail terms, many people who committed financial crimes are doing more time than child molesters or even a murderer.

Lets remember the people who work these cases make little money and when they see people who made lots of money they get VERY angry upset and jelous, jurys dont like seeing this nobody likes it thats why the conviction rate for financial crimes is so high.


Malchus shel - chesed leumim chatas - this (even if ch"v true) is a monetary crime which should bear a monetary penalty. YOu can kill somebody and walk in 18 months but get your hands green and you'll do hard time. Jail is cruel. Pidyon Shevuyim still applies. Willing to contribute to legal defense fund...


Yankel Kasirer is not turning over in his grave!! He was a very big tzaddik and baal tzedaka. Hes in olam haba, rejoicing from the schar from all the mitzvos of BYLA girls. What Robert does has nothing to do with him, leave him out!!! Robert is not part of his legacy. Yankel doesnt deserve to be remembered as roberts father.


Robert kassirer is one of the lowest forms of scum on this earth and i hope he gets what he deserves namely a front row seat in hell.


let's talk scum...it's people who hide behind their religion that create a chillul hashem. focus on the law breakers. what are you hiding and when are they coming after you?


When the African American community in Los Angelese supported O.J., many of us thought they were foolish. If we support Spinka are we any better? Let us not forget the chillul hasem factor and the way all Yidden might be looked upon.


Who is calling who scum? We all know that the feds have been looking at our religious community since the Rabbi Low times. Do you actually think that all of this happened due to one person talking? People have been talking since Rabbi Low. Don't point fingers....you all know who you are. It is time to be honest and follow the rules of the land, which is no different than the torah in this case.


Yes it was only 1 person talking and it was that lowlife leetch Robert Kassirer who will be burning in hell.


You must be one of the undercover cops if you know for sure that it was only one person talking. Or, you must be a big spinka contributor yourself who is trying to put the blame on others.


Please... stop! Others read this and it shines a negative light on all of Klal Yisroel.

If none of the accusations are true this is a very sad moment. If however even a trace of this is true..... this is a gigantic Chillel Ha'shem and who said what is not as important as who did what.

I fear that these charges are true as I do not want to believe that the U.S. goverment simply made this up.

If so... let the punishment fit the crime and let us all hope that the media lets this die down. Perhaps we can help by being quiet about this.


For all the opinionated 'experts', a few facts:

1. Jews who claim to be orthodox, frum, or the like, must necessarily accept the authority of the Shulchan Aruch first. The SA (c"m 388) makes the status of Robert Kassirer very clear- both in this world, and the next. What he has done is both halakhicly, and morally, unjustifiable. When a person gets caught doing something wrong, and tries to buy his freedom by selling others in his place, he is becomes a Kapo. The halakhic status of a Kapo is also very clear - that of a mosser. See the Rambam in hil.teshuva, and the SA in c"m 388.

2. Constitutional law in the US considers a person innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, most federal prosecutors, and many federal agents, do not. This fundamental disconnect between the law and those charged with upholding and enforcing it, usually leads to cases built on inadmissible evidence, perjury by law enforcement agents, and corrupt prosecutors playing God - not to mention denial of due process & ignoring the law as enacted by congress. If the lawyers representing these people are any good- they might start by examining the provisions governing the use of sting operations - congress didn't exactly write the DOJ a blank check !

3. These are real people, with families that need them. Even IF they made some mistakes, they certainly don't deserve to be judged based on hyperbolic press-releases by mercenary prosecutors. Nobody deserves to be looking at what amounts to a life sentence, for financial improprieties. Certainly not when rapists and child molesters (usually going through the state courts, as opposed to federal) will generally serve less than half the time of a tax evader. This is not just, and not what our religion teaches. IIRC, the Rambam writes that incarceration for financial crimes is cruelty. For all those clueless holier-than-thou sickos who still insist on smugly judging others - you wouldn't like to hear that it was "really your mothers fault because she didn't take care of her health" when she's diagnosed with cancer, would you ? Remember then, that "Kol hamerachem al habriyos, merachamim alav min hashamayim" - and the opposite is also true.


Jacob Kasirer was a very honorable and noble man who gave millions to help others. His son Robert didn't learn to be a lowlife jerk from his father.


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