Friday, January 04, 2013

NJ man bilked his fellow Orthodox Jews out of millions 

A Lakewood man Thursday admitted that he ran a real estate investment fraud scheme that bilked many of his fellow Orthodox Jews and others out of more than $200 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Eliyahu Weinstein, 37 — a.k.a "Eli Weinstein," a.k.a "Edward Weinstein," a.k.a "Eddie Weinstein" — pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton federal court to two counts of the Indictment pending against him: one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of money laundering.

Weinstein's trial on these charges was scheduled to start Jan. 7.

Weinstein's co-defendant, Vladimir Siforov, is charged in the Indictment with three counts of wire fraud and remains a fugitive.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, which Judge Pisano accepted today, Weinstein may be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and up to three years of supervised release. He must also provide a full accounting of all monies paid to him during the period covered by the Indictment. Weinstein has also agreed to forfeit $2 million in seized property and pay restitution to the victims of his offenses.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 2.

"Weinstein shamelessly exploited investors' trust, using doctored documents for properties he didn't own – including in a town that doesn't exist – and continued to commit crimes while out on bail," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. "With false promises of sound investments and charitable donations, he stole $200 million, spending freely on fancy cars, jewelry and gambling trips. And in using victims' money to collect Judaica, Weinstein robbed from his own community's present to stockpile artifacts of its past."


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