They collected tens of millions of shekels in donations for Holocaust
survivors – then swept the funds into their own pockets. Police on Sunday arrested 10 suspects, including the manager of fund in the Jerusalem area on charges of theft; fraudulently obtaining benefits and money laundering. The remand of four suspects has been extended while the remaining six were released.
"This is a cynical abuse of the plight of Holocaust survivors," officials at the National Fraud Investigation Unit, who carried out the investigation, noted.
lengthy undercover investigation was revealed just as the funds and associations are at the height of their activities – during the Passover
holiday season and ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
According to suspicions, the association which was supposed to supply food to elderly survivors purchased dozens of tons of food, but instead of giving it out, sold the food for profit. The investigation led police to arrest several association employees and their contacts.
The investigation was launched in response to complaints received from donators and the Fellowship and Friendly Societies' Registrar, who realized that something wasn't quite right about the association, which rolls in millions of shekels every year.
The association employees raised funds from wealthy contributors abroad, claiming that they were feeding hundreds and thousands of needy Holocaust survivors on a daily basis. They also received support from an international fund for Holocaust survivors.
Police suspect that the same senior officials within the association and their contacts would purchase tons of food products and instead of giving them out as promised, would sell them – mainly in haredi communities in Jerusalem for profit.
At this point in the investigation, the fraud unit is unsure over the sums stolen, yet they estimate that there are millions of shekels involved. The suspects will be brought before the Rishon LeZion Magistrate's Court for a remand hearing on Sunday afternoon.