Arab suspect hustles destitutes out of money

Beit Hanina resident suspected of posing as Interior Ministry, National Insurance, police official, receiving money to 'handle' problems.

Shlomo Pietrekovski ,

Flash 90

An indictment was handed down this morning (Sunday) in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court against Salah al-Bedoui, 47, resident of Beit Hanina, for ten counts of fraud under aggravated circumstances.

The indictment alleges that al-Bedoui fraudulently persuaded his victims to pay him sums of over one-hundred-thousand shekels in aggravated circumstances reflected, among other things, in the use of false assertions about government actions and in exploiting his victim's adversity.

According to the indictment, Al-Bedoui fraudulently presented himself as an Interior Ministry official, a police officer, or as one with ties to the Shin Bet and National Insurance, and various other fraudulent means devised to gain the complainant's trust.

For example, al-Bedoui listened to the victim's stories and then during the conversation pretended in Hebrew to be speaking with an "authorized entity" whom he claimed was providing al-Bedoui data on them or their families in "real time". Al-bedoui would meet with some people in a cafe on Heleni haMalka Street near the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem and offered to pay part of the amount claimed from them to the relevant government office, and so gained their trust.

In none of the cases did al-Bedoui take action for his victims in the various bodies with which he misrepresented himself.

In one case al-Bedoui misrepresented himself as having connections within National Insurance, explaining to the complainant that an urgent National Insurance committee could be convened for his wife to receive an additional disability pension beyond what she already received. For his trouble al-Bedoui asked for a NIS 4,500 fee to pay the physicians on the committee. Later al-Bedoui falsely claimed that he could get him a disabled tag and vehicle for the disabled "at a discount" for an additional fee of NIS 8,500.

In another case, al-Bedoui misrepresented himself as an Interior Ministry manager, and promised an employee in the hotel where he was staying that he would arrange Israeli work visas for her and her husband for NIS 4,000 and later requested another NIS 2,000 to advance the approval process.

In another case al-Bedoui misrepresented himself to a person he met in a hospital on the Mount of Olives, as a manager in the Interior Ministry, saying that could help him evacuate squatters from land the man owned. To do so, the complainant gave the accused a sum of NIS 4,500 plus a sum of NIS 2,000 as an advance for an engineer. Two days later the accused falsely said that Shin Bet members had initiated operations against the intruders, and that the complainant must pay another NIS 4,000 for the Shin Bet file.

Translated by Mordechai Sones