LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Grand Rabbi of Spinka, an Orthodox Jewish sect, was arrested this morning with several associates and charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government through an underground money transfer system and laundering money through an Israeli bank.
Grand Rabbi Naftali Tza Weisz, 59, and Gabbai Moshe Zigelman, 60, both of Brooklyn, face a 37-count federal indictment.
Weisz and Zigelman are accused of soliciting millions of dollars in contributions to Spinka charities by promising to refund as much as 95 percent of the contributions. The “donors” could then deduct the full, phony amount from their taxes.
The money transfer system allegedly was concentrated in Los Angeles’ jewelry districted. Indicted and arrested with Zigelman and Weisz were Yaacov Zeivald, 43, of Valley Village, Calif.; Yosef Nachum Naiman, 55; and Alan Jay Friedman, 43, both of Los Angeles. Another suspect, Moshe Arie Lazar, 60, of Los Angeles, was not arrested and is believed to be in Israel, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. See indictment