Berland in court
Berland in court Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Prosecutor's Office on Monday decided to submit an indictment which is pending a hearing against Eliezer Berland, on charges of fraud, money laundering, and other crimes.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, Berland provided blessings, advice, collected donations, and held classes in his home, in exchange for payment while leading the Shuvu Banim community.

The Prosecutor's Office suspects that he refrained from reporting this income to the Tax Authorities, and that he paid employees high sums of money without reporting that he was employing them, as required by law.

The decision to submit an indictment and to call Berland for a hearing on these crimes was made parallel to the management of an additional case against him, in the Jerusalem District Court. This case, opened two-and-a-half months ago, deals with accepting things fraudulently in serious circumstances, attempts to receive things fraudulently in serious circumstances, exploitation and attempted exploitation, and attempts to solicit someone to injure someone else.

The indictment notes that during the relevant period, Berland served as the head of Shuvu Banim, which has thousands of followers. To the community, Berland was seen as a rabbinic and spiritual authority, whose rulings and instructions should be obeyed.

It also claimed that between 2014 and his arrest in February 2020, Berland and his aides, who served as his right hand, used his position as a well-known and admired rabbi in his community and outside of it to act in a systematic fashion to receive sums of money from people who were in need and who had turned to Berland for help and assistance.

In the situations described in the indictment, Berland and his aides presented a false picture to those who turned to him, presenting him as one who has special powers to heal and cure problems, via the payment of sums of money totaling thousands.

Berland, it says, did this with the knowledge that he could not cause the desired solution to happen, and that there was no truth to the claim that it would happen. These false pretenses were presented even in extreme cases, such as resurrecting the dead, complete recovery for serious conditions for which there is no cure, recovery from chronic medical conditions such as disability, and other serious medical issues, as well as situation such as prison, or finding missing persons.

Sometimes, while presenting these claims, Berland used recommendations for pills or treatments for which he gave false details. Via these false claims, Berland and his men brought in millions of shekels.