Worse than that…
…according to an email I received from Israel, he is allegedly living openly in Jerusalem, raising money for a restaurant he wants to open there:
The alleged criminal is Arnold Zaler, and he's wanted for bank fraud and wire fraud.
In part, here is the email I received today says:
1. The US Embassy knows about Zaler and knows he is in Israel.
2. The FBI also knows.
3. The Israeli police know.
4. It appears no attempt has yet been made to extradite Zaler.
But this information is hardly secret or groundbreaking. In April, the Rocky Mountain News reported Zaler had fled to Israel:
Warrant issued for fraud suspect
By Sara Burnett
Published April 15, 2008 at 12:05 a.m.
A federal judge has issued an arrest warrant for Arnold Zaler, a former kosher deli owner accused of fraud, after authorities said he left the country for Israel.
Department of Homeland Security records show Zaler flew from Atlanta to Tel Aviv on March 24 - about one month after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on 30 counts of bank, wire and mail fraud.
He was scheduled to return to Atlanta on Sunday, but did not. As a condition of his $25,000 unsecured bond, Zaler was not allowed to leave Colorado.
Zaler's attorney, Mitchell Baker, said Monday he could not comment on any conversations he may have had with his client.
"I'm quite certain he's intending on coming back," Baker said.
Authorities say the former owner of Zaler's Kosher Meats falsified purchase orders to sell hot dogs at the Pepsi Center, Invesco Field at Mile High and Coors Field. He then used those orders to persuade investors to loan him at least $2.2 million.
Zaler pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.
I did a Google News search for "Arnold Zaler." I came up with exactly two hits:
1. The original Rocky Mountain News article reporting on his arrest and alleged fraud.
2. The article reproduced above reporting his flight to Israel.
Eight months after that second report, Zaler is apparently still living openly in Israel.
Will Zaler escape justice? Will he live openly in Israel – like Mondrowitz and so many others – for years?
But let's be clear.
If the extradition process starts today, Zaler could easily remain in Israel until early 2012. That means any US trial could be almost four years away.
Four years is a long time. It dulls memory. Witnesses disappear. Prosecution is more difficult.
Imagine if Sholom M. Rubashkin fled to Israel and remained there for 3 or 4 years before extradition.
What would happen to the poor, indigent illegal workers who are supposed to testify against him? Would they remain waiting in the US, being supported by donations from a small Catholic Church? Would they go back to Guatemala? Would they be available to testify?
Four years is a very long time – enough time, perhaps, for a top caliber legal defense team to get a dream deal from the US Attorney. Hamyvin yavin.