Criminal mastermind and sloppy dresser Marvin Berkowitz arriving in a Tel Aviv courtroom yesterday.(Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)
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Money Laundering Goes Global

Another scheme foiled, this one in Israel

by
Liel Leibovitz
August 04, 2009
Criminal mastermind and sloppy dresser Marvin Berkowitz arriving in a Tel Aviv courtroom yesterday.(Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s money laundering in New Jersey, there’s money laundering in Los Angeles, and, court documents filed yesterday reveal, there’s another alleged money-laundering scheme that stretches from Chicago to Tel Aviv and defrauded U.S. tax authorities of more than $35 million. The cabal’s ringleader, 62-year-old Marvin Berkowitz, fled the United States for Israel in 2003 and settled in Jerusalem. Together with his sons and other American accomplices, he is suspected of stealing the identities of about 3,300 federal prisoners and then fraudulently filing for tax refunds on their behalf. The money would then be laundered through Israeli bank accounts. And they say Israeli-American relations are on the rocks.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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