Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel, the rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Yeshiva of South Fallsburg, who is considered to be a haredi “gadol” (a most senior, important haredi rabbi, has allegedly so far raised $200,000 to pay new attorneys for haredi über fraudster and thief Eliyahu Weinstein’s appeal and has promised those attorneys that he will provide up to $400,000 in total.
I’m told by a source extremely close to this case that Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel, the rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Yeshiva of South Fallsburg, who is considered to be a haredi “gadol” (a most senior, important haredi rabbi), has so far raised $200,000 to pay new attorneys for haredi über fraudster and thief Eliyahu Weinstein’s appeal and has promised those attorneys that he will provide up to $400,000 in total.
Weinstein was using a public defender because the US Attorney contends (correctly, it seems) that all of Weinstein’s money is stolen, and that the victims he stole those tens of millions of dollars from have the right to that money, not Weinstein. Wachtfogel has made it possible for Weinstein to get first class legal representation.
But Wachtfogel is allegedly raising all that money from key haredim worldwide and running the contributions made by these haredim through his yeshiva accounts, allowing donors to deduct their contributions to the admitted scam artist as if they were donations to his yeshiva.
This is almost certainly illegal.
Weinstein destroyed the lives of his victims, wiping out the family wealth of many – most of whom are Orthodox or haredi Jews. Indeed, there are allegedly many haredi victims that have not come forward because their rabbis – rabbis who may be close to Wachtfogel – ordered them not to. If they would come forward, Weinstein’s theft of $50 million or so would probably double to close to $100 million – or even more.
Even though Weinstein was caught red handed and admitted his guilt, and even though Weinstein destroyed the lives of so many people, he still has significant support among leading haredi rabbis like Wachtfogel – whose daughter is married to Weinstein’s brother.
Beyond family ties, one reason may be that Weinstein was generous with the money he stole, donating to haredi yeshivas like Wachtfogel’s.
Another reason may be that Yehuda Pollak, who was Weinstein's co-conspirator in much of the fraud, previously had a position in Fallsburg Yeshiva. Pollak ended up controlling Vaad Lehakomas Kollelim, which was a haredi nonprofit used for a lot of Weinstein's fraud.
And it may be may be that Weinstein used other haredi yeshivas and nonprofits to launder his stolen money, as well, and the less he says to the US Attorney, the better it is for these haredi rabbis.
Will the US Attorney investigate any of this?
When Chris Christie was US Attorney in New Jersey he did not want to investigate or indict haredi rabbis who were illegally laundering tens of millions of dollars annually through their yeshivas, synagogues and nonprofits, allegedly because it was bad for his political career, as I exclusively reported last year. (His subordinates were able to persevere, however.)
New York and New Jersey are especially corrupt states (and they were so long before haredim had significant voting blocs and learned to use those voting blocs and the existing corrupted system to get what they wanted).
What would be a slam dunk investigation and prosecution in Iowa, Wisconsin, or Oklahoma isn’t necessarily so in New Jersey or New York as a result.
Time will tell.
Update 4:45 pm CDT – I'm told by another source close to the case that during the fraud, Weinstein sent at least 7 checks, valued in total at $635,000, to Congregation Anshei Fallsburg c/o R. Wachtfogel, 6 Yeshiva Lane, Fallsburg, NY 12733. $180,000 of those checks bounced, leaving $455,000 actually 'donated' – about enough to pay the attorneys the $400,000 Wachtfogel allegedly promised plus the customary money laundering 10% service charge and a small amount left over to cover bank fees (and perhaps a small donation to congregation).