Paul L. Caron

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Rabbi Hurt In 2019 Synagogue Shooting Pleads Guilty To Widespread Tax Fraud

San Diego Union-Tribune, Rabbi Injured in Poway Synagogue Shooting Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud Charge:

ChabadRabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who one year ago had part of his hand shot off in a lethal attack by a gunman at the Poway synagogue he founded and received an outpouring of support that included meeting President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax fraud and wire fraud Tuesday.

Goldstein, 58, pleaded guilty to his role in several long-running, multimillion-dollar schemes involving tax, real estate, insurance and grant frauds, some of which stretched back to the 1980s. Omer Meisel, the acting head of the FBI in San Diego, said the investigation uncovered $18 million in “complex financial schemes” by Goldstein and co-defendants, with the rabbi “at the center of illegal activity” that went on for years.

One such scheme, known as the “90-10" fraud, had donors make large contributions to Chabad of Poway but then secretly get most of the money back. Typically, Goldstein would keep 10 percent — then funnel the remaining 90 percent back to the donor, according to a charging document unsealed in San Diego federal court Tuesday.

90 10

With a charitable giving receipt on Chabad letterhead, the donor could then claim a large charitable contribution on their taxes, though he or she had only put out a fraction of the claimed amount. The conspiracy netted at least $6.2 million in fraudulent donations from 12 taxpayers, resulting in tax losses to the IRS of at least $1.5 million, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors say the charitable tax scheme was only one part of a more widespread effort to use the synagogue and its many connected nonprofits to illicitly raise funds and hide money, according to court documents. Goldstein personally benefited by pocketing $620,000 over the years. ....

At least three Fortune 500 companies were defrauded when they were tricked into giving matching contributions to the synagogue. Prosecutors said Goldstein fabricated fake donation receipts for company employees, then collected matching funds from the companies. The employees claimed deductions, and Goldstein kept the matching funds, said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.


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