New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman(Bloomberg)
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Fraudulent Charities Targeting Israel Supporters Exposed

Millions were raised, little went where it was supposed to

Romy Zipken
June 28, 2013
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman(Bloomberg)

Imagine having your own personal piggy bank filled with funds with which you could do whatever you wanted. Pay off your mortgage or car loans, remodel a home, and even take a trip to Atlantic City. A dream come true; livin’ life like a grown-up version of Preston Waters from Blank Check.

But it wasn’t a dream for the four just arrested for tricking thousands into donating to their charities that branded themselves as Israel-related causes. Nineteen charities, all given Jewish names, like Bnei Torah or Israel Leukemia and Cancer Society, were exposed by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman reports the New York Times.

Only a small amount of the donated money actually wound up in Israel. The defendants even bounced at least 2,100 checks, and wasted $65,000 of charitable donations in overdraft fees, the attorney general charged.

Nice. Fraudulent and irresponsible. The charities raised millions by “preying on a vulnerable public’s charitable instincts, and in particular the charitable impulses that many persons of the Jewish faith have for Israel.”

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, principally named Yaakov Weingarten, 52, a resident of the Midwood neighborhood. It also accused his wife, Rivka, 52, and two of Mr. Weingarten’s employees, Simon Weiss, 28, and David Yifat, 66, of involvement in the scheme.

Only two of the charities were even registered in Israel. Unlike the “Jewish Indiana Jones,” who pleaded guilty to his deceitful scam in 2012, Weingarten used his Fifth Amendment rights as to not incriminate himself. The investigation is ongoing.

Romy Zipken is a writer and editor at Jewcy. Her Twitter feed is @RomyZipken.