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San Diego Attorney, ‘Donor’ in Chabad of Poway Fraud, Sentenced to Year in Prison

CrimeSan Diego Attorney, ‘Donor’ in Chabad of Poway Fraud, Sentenced to Year in Prison

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks at the United NationsThe now disgraced Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, mastermind of a Chabad of Poway fraud scheme, speaking at the United Nations in New York in 2019. Courtesy Chabad

An attorney who pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from a tax fraud scheme orchestrated by a former Poway rabbi was sentenced Friday to 366 days in prison.

Elliot Adler, 45, of San Diego, admitted to taking part in what prosecutors have termed the “90/10” scheme, in which former Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein accepted charitable donations, then would send about 90% of the funds back to the donors. He pocketed the remainder for himself.

Donors then would falsely claim on tax forms that 100% of their donations went to the synagogue, with Goldstein providing the false donors with fake receipts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Adler contributed from at least 2010 until 2018, allowing him to reduce his personal income tax liability by about $500,000.

Prosecutors allege the men conducted their transactions over text messages in code in order to conceal the nature of their communications. Aside from Goldstein, 10 others, including the rabbi’s brother, have been sentenced in the case, receiving terms ranging from probation to more than five years.

In addition to his time in custody, Adler was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. He also was ordered to forfeit gold coins Goldstein gave him as part of the scheme.

In 2020, Goldstein pleaded guilty to fraud charges. He received a 14-month sentence earlier this year.

Adler is the 11th person to plead guilty and be sentenced in the case, while two others agreed to deferred prosecution agreements, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

– City News Service

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