Money (illustration)
Money (illustration) iStock

The State Prosecutor's cyber department this week filed with the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court an indictment against a Tel Aivv resident, charging him with theft under aggravating circumstances, attempted theft, transferring false information, acting with forbidden property, and use of cunning, fraud, and tricks with the intention of avoiding taxes.

According to the indictment, the suspect, who freelances with a company offering financial advice, entered the Tax Authority's website and accessed the personal areas for 16 business owners. Eleven of the 16 were former customers of his.

The suspect then submitted, in the complainants' name and without their knowledge, requests to receive the coronavirus grants available for those self-employed whose business was harmed by the coronavirus pandemic. He manually and intentionally changed the bank account details to reflect his own personal bank account, so that the coronavirus grants would be transferred to his account, allowing him to steal the complainants' coronavirus grants from them.

Through this process, the suspect stole, under aggravating circumstances, a sum total of 590,881 shekel ($183,904) and attempted to steal another 12,000 shekel ($3735).

In addition, the suspect used many opportunities to carry out additional actions using the coronavirus aid grants which he stole, with the knowledge that it was "forbidden property," as it is defined in the law against money laundering.

Among other things, the suspect transferred large sums of money to the bank accounts of his wife, his father, and his business partners. He also used the credit card associated with his bank account, and withdrew cash from his bank account. By doing this he committed a crime of money laundering, to the tune of over half a million shekel.

The suspect is also being charged with tax crimes, since he did not manage his accounts as required by law, including the income from the stolen coronavirus aid, and did not submit reports to the Tax Authority regarding the above income.