Embezzlement case making headlines in New York

Embezzlement case making headlines in New York

An embezzlement case that involves the intersection of civil, criminal and rabbinical law is garnering a great deal of attention in New York. The case involves $20 million in embezzled funds and is one of the largest Jewish charity frauds in recent history.

Former Aish Hatorah CFO, Jacob Fetman, was discovered to have coordinated unauthorized loans from the charity. The bank accounts he created and controlled were nowhere to be found in the organization’s records.  A rabbinical court determined that Fetman embezzled and, therefore, owed $20 million to the charity.

When this case moved into the secular courts, the Kings County District Attorney alleged that Fetman had only taken $236,000, an amount significantly lower than the determination made by the rabbinical courts

What makes this case so interesting is that it involves the connection between religious and secular courts in New York; rabbinical courts arbitrate commercial disputes as a result of ancient law mandating this method. The outcomes, however, are enforced in civil court. The decision can be overturned by the civil court only if it is determined that the arbitrator was corrupt or partial to one person’s side, or that fraud existed in the ruling.

The rabbinical courts most often oversee religious divorces, but they can also manage complex litigation between disputing Orthodox parties. For those parties, getting civil help first might be viewed as breaching existing rabbinical laws. Many of these cases happen under the radar because they achieve outcomes without much dispute, but the Fetman case  has generated a firestorm after the initial arbitration ruling. While a Brooklyn Commercial Division Judge has recently confirmed the $20 million finding, the case is still drawing a great deal of attention.

If you have been accused of embezzlement, then the amount in question can have a serious impact on how you are charged and the severity of the punishment. Speaking to a New York criminal defense attorney can shed light on how this information will affect your case and possible avenues for fighting the charges in court. Julie Rendelman is a skilled New York criminal defense lawyer handling both federal and state criminal cases. She has over 22 years of experience working both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney. To set up a free consultation, call 212-951-1232. Visit www.RendelmanLaw.com to learn more about Ms. Rendelman.