Rabbi Shot in Synagogue Attack Is Sentenced to Prison in Fraud Schemes

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Yisroel Goldstein, who was wounded successful the deadly 2019 onslaught connected the Chabad of Poway synagogue, northbound of San Diego, was sentenced to 14 months successful fraud schemes successful which, prosecutors say, helium received much than $500,000.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the erstwhile  manager  of Chabad of Poway synagogue successful  Poway, Calif., addressing the United Nations General Assembly gathering  connected  combating antisemitism successful  2019.
Credit...Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Jan. 5, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

A rabbi who was changeable and wounded during a deadly onslaught connected his synagogue northbound of San Diego successful 2019 was sentenced connected Tuesday to 14 months successful situation for engaging successful yearslong, multimillion-dollar fraud schemes, prosecutors said.

The condemnation handed down by Judge Cynthia A. Bashant of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California exceeded the recommendations of national prosecutors and the rabbi’s lawyers, some of whom had recommended location confinement.

The rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, 60, the erstwhile manager of the Chabad of Poway, was besides ordered to wage $2,834,608 successful restitution for the schemes, which progressive phony contributions to the Chabad and affiliated charities and done which helium personally received much than $500,000, prosecutors said.

“You dragged down truthful galore congregants,” Judge Bashant said successful imposing the sentence, according to a statement from the Justice Department.

“I deliberation clip successful custody is important,” she said. “It’s important to nonstop a connection to the community, and it’s important to nonstop a connection to you.”

Rabbi Goldstein’s lawyers did not instantly respond to a petition for remark connected Wednesday. In tribunal papers recommending that helium beryllium sentenced to 4 months of location detention, they said that helium had accepted work for his actions by laying retired the details of his schemes successful a blameworthy plea and had cooperated with the authorities.

“I person fto myself down and everything I person been taught, and everything that I person preached for 40 years, and allowed myself to beryllium seduced to a precise acheronian place, allowing the powerfulness of wealth to get the amended portion of my soul,” Mr. Goldstein wrote successful a missive to the judge.

He asked the justice to “accept my repentance for the damages and terrible disappointment that I person caused.”

“I often wonderment wherefore I survived the shooting,” helium wrote. “The beingness indispensable person religion successful a amended aboriginal for me, to go a amended idiosyncratic and to marque full for my past sins and transgressions.”

Rabbi Goldstein had emerged arsenic a salient dependable of resilience and determination aft a gunman who was yelling antisemitic slurs attacked the Chabad of Poway, successful Poway, Calif., sidesplitting a pistillate and injuring 3 different radical connected April 27, 2019, during the Jewish vacation of Passover.

Rabbi Goldstein, who was already nether probe successful transportation with the fraud schemes astatine the clip of the attack, was changeable successful some hands and mislaid an scale finger. In the days after, helium condemned antisemitism astatine the United Nations and spoke astatine a National Day of Prayer event astatine the White House with President Donald J. Trump.

“I warrant you, we volition not beryllium intimidated oregon deterred by terror,” he said aft the shooting. “Terror volition not win.”

In September, the antheral who carried retired the attack, John T. Earnest of San Diego, was sentenced to beingness successful situation without the anticipation of parole successful a woody that spared him the decease penalty. Mr. Earnest, who had expressed a tendency to termination Jews and Muslims, had besides pleaded blameworthy to mounting occurrence to a mosque.

Rabbi Goldstein established the Chabad of Poway successful 1986 and had served arsenic its manager and caput rabbi until 2018, prosecutors said.

He began cooperating with the authorities soon aft national agents executed hunt warrants astatine his location successful October 2018, and helium worked undercover for the government, his lawyers said successful tribunal papers.

In July 2020, Rabbi Goldstein and 5 associates pleaded guilty to their roles successful the schemes, which was intended to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, respective Fortune 500 companies, and respective nationalist and backstage agencies.

Prosecutors said that successful his plea agreement, Rabbi Goldstein had acknowledged that, portion helium was manager of the synagogue, helium had received astatine slightest $6.2 cardinal successful phony contributions to the Chabad and affiliated charities and had secretly refunded up to 90 percent of the donations to the bogus donors.

After helium provided the donors with fake receipts, they claimed amerciable taxation deductions, and Rabbi Goldstein kept astir 10 percent for himself, prosecutors said.

Rabbi Goldstein acknowledged that helium had besides defrauded 3 companies by “tricking them into matching expected charitable donations of their employees,” prosecutors said successful a statement.

In tribunal papers, prosecutors recommended that Rabbi Goldstein beryllium sentenced to 8 months of location detention. They said the onslaught connected the synagogue was “a driving origin down the bonzer departure and sentencing proposal of the United States.”

“Following the shooting, Rabbi Goldstein repeatedly spoke retired astir the attack, and was the look of the assemblage some locally and nationally, contempt his wounded and PTSD,” prosecutors wrote successful tribunal papers.

In a connection connected Tuesday, Randy Grossman, the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of California, said that the condemnation handed down by Judge Bashant “accounts for these bonzer circumstances and our office’s ngo to ever question justice.”

“Yisroel Goldstein exploited his presumption and stature arsenic a religion person to perpetrate well-planned and cautiously executed crimes of greed,” Mr. Grossman said.

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