Falsifying documents, defrauding authorities, receiving money fraudulently from the National Insurance Institute and providing forms to young adults who had shirked military service – these are the charges of which police have leveled at three haredi men from Jerusalem, arrested earlier in October.
The details of the case were released for publication on Wednesday. Police assert that over the past two years, the three men operated a ring which provided more than 60 young adults with certificates citing mental disability and attested to by medical committees within the National Insurance Institute, as well as permits for young haredim seeking to avoid military service.
- Police: Haredi ID fraud spanned years
The investigation began after intelligence information was received by the Central Unit of the Jerusalem District Police. Following this, a special joint investigation team was set up between police, the National Fraud Unit within the National Insurance Institute, and IDF officials.
The team began an undercover investigation, tracing the three suspects’ tracks. The investigation found that the suspects had offered young haredim authorizations which would allow them to be released from military service under a mental disability clause, after receiving a psychiatric document confirming the disability. Each document allegedly cost NIS 1,500 ($426). The ring sent the potential draftees to psychiatrists, who provided them with the fictitious certificates. These certificates were then presented to the IDF authorities.
In addition to documents, the military evaders received aperscriptions for 'psychiatric sedative' injections, which they were supposed to receive at their HMOs. Once the young men bought the perscriptions, which they were to take to the HMO where they were to be injected, the ring leaders replaced the sedative with ampoules of B12, and the potential draftees would bring these to the nurses who administered the shot. After receiving the injection, the nurses gave the young men certificates that they had received the sedative shot. These were then provided to the IDF, and on this basis, the men were granted discharges from military service.
Ring members also offered haredim throughout the country fictitious certificates of mental disability from psychiatrists for a one-time fee, allegedly ranging from NIS 1,500 to 50,000 ($14,000). The certificate would be presented by the haredim to the National Insurance Institute committees, and in return, they received a pension ranging from NIS 4,500 ($1,277) to 7,000 ($1,987). Calculations by the National Insurance Institute revealed that these monthly payments would come to tens of millions of shekels in the coming years.
Police also suspect that the money which the ring operators collected was laundered via shell corporations.
According to police, one of the suspects admitted to the charges against him, while two others refused to talk and denied all charges. In addition, most of those who turned to the ring to receive fabricated documents denied the charges. Seven psychiatrists who are residents of Jerusalem were summoned for questioning and they were released to house arrest of five days and forbidden to make contact with the suspects.
It is also being claimed that the investigation discovered that members of the ring used the name of a recently deceased psychiatrist to provide fabricated authorizations.
Attorney Erez Bar Zvi, who is representing the suspect released to house arrest today, said, "The police came today with a request to release my client. It turns out that the mountain has spawned a mouse. I hope and believe that my client’s part ended with the discussion today.”
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