London rabbi apologizes for honoring Ponzi scammer

Rabbi of synagogue where scammer was called up to Torah apologizes, says he didn't know all the facts.

JTA,

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Leaders of a synagogue in London apologized for honoring a convicted fraudster two days before he was sentenced to six years in prison for his crimes.

Freddy David, who defrauded 55 people, mostly Jewish, of nearly $19 million, was called up to the bimah of his Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue in London on Saturday. David was called up to the Torah.

On Monday, he admitted in court to stealing the money in Ponzi schemes, many involving members of the same synagogue.

David used his standing within the community to scam his victims by selling them fake investments, when he was managing director at wealth management company HBFS Financial Services, The Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday. He transferred the money into his own account which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle and gambling addiction.

“Mr. David should not have been called up. Although there was guidance in place by the honorary officers this perhaps should have been clearer. There was absolutely no malicious intent on the part of those involved and this call up does not reflect” the synagogue’s policy, the shul’s chairman, Simon Mitchell, wrote in a statement.

The synagogue’s rabbi, Chaim Kanterovitz, also sent a letter of regret to his “beloved community” in which he blamed the decision to call up David on “not know[ing] all the facts.”

Between January 2005 and November 2017, David spent more than $20 million on gambling websites. On one day alone, he lost $313,000 while gambling online.

A daughter of one of David’s elderly victims told The Jewish Chronicle that the synagogue’s letter “is a mockery, a disgrace. This ‘community’ needs to come together and help those who have been left crippled by David.”

David, 49, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud by abusing his position and transfer by deception, at Southwark Crown Court on Monday.








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