They also tell the story of her arrest, guilty plea and sentencing as if Runge had not emailed a co-conspirator and said: "Hey baby. I need a final Maximus...invoice TOMORROW MORNING for $2.3 million in an odd, round number. Add it all up...and make it look pretty."
Wendy Runge is in prison today because she committed crimes against the State of Iowa. She defrauded the State's film program and got caught. At the end of her trial she decided to plead guilty to avoid what surely would have been a guilty verdict and a tough prison sentence.
Yes, others were caught as well, and some have yet to be indicted or tried, while others – mostly her co-conspirators – have already pleaded guilty.
Runge and her supporters make much of what they say is singling out one Jew out of many non-Jews, and persecuting that Jew in court.
That the case against Runge was easy for the state to make because it had the testimony of co-conspirators to use against her along with a very damaging Runge email (quoted below), is something Runge and her supporters ignore. They also ignore the messy reality of criminal justice: whoever makes the plea deal first usually comes out the best.
Runge waited way too long. Her co-conspirators did not.
Runge wrote on her blog (which is no longer extant) that she is really innocent, that she was persecuted by the State of Iowa, that the judge was biased against her, and that antisemitism – not her crimes – was the root of her problems. All of this is a violation of her belated plea agreement, and all of this irritated prosecutors.
Runge had also agreed to cooperate with the investigations against others and to testify against them in court.
But the prosecution found Runge's 'help' to be more lies.
And then the judge, fed up with Runge's games, ordered sentencing months before it was planned. Runge stumbled over her allocution and the remorse she was expected to show was mostly missing.
She was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, with the judge holding out the hope that if Runge stopped trying to game the system and genuinely showed remorse, the sentence could be radically reduced.
Runge's supporters – who admirably are raising money to pay for Runge's ongoing legal effort – understandibly don't want you know about the email Runge sent to a co-conspirator about an invoice meant to defraud the State of Iowa:
"Hey baby. I need a final Maximus...invoice TOMORROW MORNING for $2.3 million in an odd, round number. Add it all up...and make it look pretty."
Runge, mirroring Sholom Rubashkin, chose to play the antisemitism card. Both lost.
Rubashkin turned down a plea deal that would have given him a 12 year prison sentence. He is currently appealing the 27 year sentence he got after being convicted on 86 fraud related charges.
Runge had a deal would have given her probation preceded by minimal imprisonment. She's now serving a sentence of up to 10 years.
But unlike Rubashkin, Runge is not rich and she does not have an entire hasidic movement, along with the OU, OK, and many other kosher food industry players and haredi leaders giving their all to help her.
Does Runge deserve help?
I don't know.
I dislike the idea that ultra-Orthodox criminals can count on the ultra-Orthodox community to fund their legal expenses.
On the other hand, she certainly needs help.
So for those of you inclined to give, here's the link.
But let me make one suggestion: add a note to your donation that clearly states your opposition to the claims of antisemitism and victimhood.
And you might also suggest that real teshuva, repentance, is necessary.
One day in the not too distant future, Runge will have the chance to be released on parole. Honesty and contriteness – teshuva – may be her only helpers. She needs to familiarize herself with them now, long before she again stands before a judge and asks for leniency.