Sefardi haredi kabbalist Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto allegedly used a corrupt New York cop to harass threaten and arrest a rival who had caught Pinto's top aide, ex-pornographer Ben Zion Suky, stealing large amounts of money from a New York City real estate development corporation.
Rabbi Yoshiyau Yosef Pinto
Sefardi Kabbalist Allegedly Ordered NYPD Cop To Arrest Investor Who Allegedly Caught Top Pinto Aide Stealing
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto allegedly ordered an NYPD detective, Eric Patino, to arrest his top aide’s business rival Tomer Shohat, the Forward reported yesterday afternoon.
The allegation is reportedly part of a civil complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court on February 19.
Patino allegedly made the arrest and told Shohat he would release him if Shohat gave him a computer that contained evidence Shohat gathered on alleged financial and criminal misconduct by Pinto’s top aide, former pornographer Ben Zion Suky.
The defendants have not filed any response to the suit and do not appear to have retained counsel. Suky did not respond to a message left by the Forward on his voicemail, Patino could not be reached at his listed number and the phone at Pinto’s New York synagogue “appeared to be off the hook,” the Forward reported.
The NYPD also did not respond to the Forward’s request for comment.
31-year-old Shohat, a former hedge fund manager in Israel, is attempting to recover a $10.5 million investment that he and other investors made in a Suky-controlled building at 440 West 41st Street building in New York City.
The company that owned 440 West 41st Street, Metro Apartments, allegedly failed to make payments on loans given by Shohat’s group.
Shohat, fearful that money was being misappropriated, came to the US to inspect Metro’s books. When he did, he allegedly found that Suky was both misappropriating Metro funds and mismanaging 440 West 41st Street.
Instead of bringing his findings to police, the district attorney or the US Attorney, Shohat allegedly brought them to Pinto first. Pinto asked Shohat not to call police, and Shohat apparently agreed.
After that, Pinto and Suky allegedly threatened to have Shohat injured or to have him arrested by Patino – who Pinto controlled – if Shohat continued to investigate Metro and 440 West 41st Street.
Shohat, however, continued investigating and eventually reported his findings to the Metro board.
Soon after making that report, Shohat was allegedly threatened by Pinto’s brother Menachem, who is also named as a defendant in the suit.
Suky and Pinto then “arranged for…Patino to arrest [Shohat] and charge him with crimes he had not committed,” the lawsuit reportedly alleges.
Shohat was arrested February 21, 2013.
Patino allegedly told Shohat he would be set free if they could eat lunch together and talk. After Shohat visited with his attorney and the attorney left, Patino allegedly told Shohat that he would let him go if Shohat gave Patino the computer which contained evidence about Metro/440 West 41st Street.
Patino filed a felony complaint accusing Shohat of stealing $15,000 from a locked cash box at 440 West 41st Street.
In April, the DA’s office reportedly filed a motion to dismiss the charges.
Patino reportedly moonlights as a real estate agent with a commercial real estate brokerage, the Azad Propety Group.
Pinto and his wife are reportedly about to be indicted in Israel for threatening police and witnesses and for attempting to bribe senior Israeli police officials, along with a string of related crimes, including money laundering and obstruction of justice. All these charges are based on alleged fraud at the Pinto-controlled Hazon Yeshaya charity, which was allegedly looted by Pinto and his top associates, stealing millions of dollars meant to help Israel’s poorest citizens, including donations earmarked for elderly Holocaust survivors.
In financial statements, Hazon Yeshaya claimed to distribute 33 million NIS ($9.4 million) to the poor annually. But government investigators reportedly found Hazon Yeshaya actually distributed only 6 million NIS ($1.7 million) each year.
Pinto’s nonprofits in Israel and the US allegedly spent lavish amounts of money of first class travel, designer and custom made clothing, and high end watches and jewelry for Pinto, his wife and his children, along with other luxury goods.
Pinto's attempts to bribe senior Israeli police officials were meant to get inside information about the investigation into the alleged Hazon Yeshaya frauds, and to see if or when he and Avraham Israel, Hazon Yeshaya’s founder, would be indicted.