Chabad mother of 11 could face jail time in Lithuania after tax fraud conviction

Court rules Nechama Dina Krinsky intentionally mismanaged school, accruing massive debt and withholding information from authorities about worsening finances

Daniel Edelson|
Chabad envoy to Vilnius Nechama Dina Krinsky could possibly face jail time after she had been indicted for tax fraud and withholding information by a local Lithuanian court.
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  • According to the local Jewish community, Dina and her husband Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky have been serving as Chabad emissaries to the Lithuanian capital for the past 28 years. The mother of 11 runs a local school that accrued large debts and eventually filed for bankruptcy.
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    הרבנית נחמה דינה (משמאל) עם הרב שלום בער קרינסקי
    הרבנית נחמה דינה (משמאל) עם הרב שלום בער קרינסקי
    Nechama Dina and Sholom Ber Krinsky
    A Vilnius District Court judge ruled that Krinsky ran the school to the ground intentionally, amassing €250,000 in outstanding debt.
    According to the case against Krinsky, the school ran on a budgetary deficit since 2007 while Krinsky avoided reporting and paying taxes owed by the school. She was convicted of withholding information about the school's financial standing, thus making it more difficult to ascertain the size of its financial obligations and purposefully pushing the institution to insolvency.
    The judge also ruled that the decision couldn’t be appealed to other courts, while Krinsky’s punishment – which could also include jail time – has yet to be determined.
    According to Krinsky’s husband, the school accru debts after it failed to receive money from reparation payments due by the Ukrainian government for World War II. The owed sum amounting to millions of euros is wired to the Good Will Fund foundation, led by the American Jewish Community (AJC).
    Rabbi Krinsky claimed that the Good Will Fund’s board of directors is attempting to hide information and act against Chabad institutions.
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    הרבנית נחמה דינה (משמאל) ולידה הרב שלום בער קרינסקי
    הרבנית נחמה דינה (משמאל) ולידה הרב שלום בער קרינסקי
    Nechama Dina and Shalom Bar Krinsky (left)
    “They refused us to be present in meetings for many years, never delivered any funding to our school, and gave meager amounts to Chabad institutions. They repeatedly ignored our requests for an emergency donation in order to secure our school’s future. They’re the ones guilty of the ongoing case against my wife.”
    He added that if the donation had been received on time, it would’ve prevented the school from going bankrupt and the allegations against his wife.
    Good Will Fund did not comment on the allegations against them.
    A member of Vilnius’ Jewish community blamed the court for “continuing to prosecute Dina despite the evidence presented, showing that she and her husband attempted to stop the school from losing money.”
    He also added that the school had hired an accountant to manage its finance, who wasn’t blamed for the school’s monetary issues.
    According to the man a team of police investigators harshly during a search they completed at the school in August 2021, allegedly ruining a bulletproof door that was installed at the entrance to the school as a countermeasure against antisemitic attacks.
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    הרב שלום בר קרינסקי, שליח חב"ד בווילנה
    הרב שלום בר קרינסקי, שליח חב"ד בווילנה
    Shalom Bar Krinsky
    The prosecution in Dina’s case then demanded that she be arrested for two months, and then moved to house arrest and wear an ankle bracelet.
    “She’s a mother to 11 children and three foster children, a leader of the community, and she’s being treated like the lowest criminal,” the man said.
    Another member of the community, Miriam Danisov, said it was hard for her to hear about Dina. “I met a lot of Jews and Jewish organizations, but never ones as dedicated as Shalom and Dina, who dedicated their lives to resurrecting the Jewish community in Vilnius.”
    She added that even when times were hard, they never thought to return to the U.S., where the two were born.
    “They became founders and leaders of the Jewish community in every way for nearly 30 years, both physically and spiritually. They’ve helped me a lot and funded my tuition and living costs so I could reconnect with my Jewish roots.”
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    בית הכנסת שנסגר בווילנה
    בית הכנסת שנסגר בווילנה
    Synagogue in Vilnius
    (Photo: AP)
    Danisov said the couple is constantly looking after every member of their school and community. “Every child here is like their own, and they’re willing to do anything for them.”
    Another member of the community, Alexandra Rachel, said she was adopted by the couple when she was five following the divorce of her parents.
    “The Krinsky family took care of me and raised me,” she said. “When I had issues, they’d solve them, pay money and lead me to the relevant authorities. I survived thanks to them.”
    Later, when I had my own children and couldn’t find a place to live due to my debt, they didn’t turn away and helped me. They found someone to pay my debt, and we could continue living in my apartment.”
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