After three years of intense searching, a Tel Aviv man who is accused of stealing NIS 20 millions (roughly $5.7 million) from his peers was arrested Sunday and his remand was extended by five days.
The man allegedly earned the trust of his friends and then escaped with their money to settle in the Philippines. Among his victims are actor and comedian Zion Baruch and media personality Ron Kaufman.
An investigation launched by Israel police in 2010 revealed that the man lived an ostentatious lifestyle, and came in contact with Tel Aviv's elite. For a long period of time, he mingled with celebrities, spending tens of thousands of shekels a day.
The man is suspected of defrauding his friends by taking post-dated checks from them. The suspect would get checks—usually from his close circle—take them to a check discount company and bring them back to the client as a sort of loan until the cashing of the check.
Ron Kaufman said Sunday about the arrest: "I'm so glad he was caught, he swindled me by hundreds of thousands of dollars. I hope they give him a happy welcome in jail. He's a bad man."
Ronen Rosenblum, the suspect's laywyer, said: "There is an ongoing investigation on the matter of my client, and I am assured that its results will be different than the complains aimed at my client so far." The suspect has been remanded in custody at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court.
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