Sunday, October 30, 2011
Rabbi Fraud Of "Biblical Proportions" Sparks Extradition
TORONTO - Considering his claims to be able to decode the Bible to predict the future, Rabbi Avraham David should have seen his arrest coming.
Instead the rabbi, aka suspended New York lawyer Earl S. David, sits in the Toronto West detention centre denied bail and awaiting extradition to the United States, where he’s wanted as the ringleader of the one of the largest immigration fraud scams in the nation’s history.
American authorities allege David, 47, fled to Toronto in 2006 after a federal investigation began into whether a massive immigration fraud mill was being run through his Manhattan-based law practice.
Taking up to $30,000 a pop, David and 26 others are accused of securing green cards for 25,000 clients by filing phony tax receipts and fake pay stubs to show bogus U.S. employers had “sponsored” them.
“As alleged, Earl David and his many cohorts corrupted the immigration process through a carefully orchestrated scheme that was stunning in its scope and audacity,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
“They allegedly reaped millions of dollars for filing tens of thousands of fraudulent applications.”
The accusations are hard to mesh with the self-described rabbi and fifth generation “scion” of a Chassidic dynasty who wrote “Code of the Heart”, a treatise on how Hebrew numerology in the Old Testament can decode everything from the tsunami to 9/11.
“He has shown in his writings that the Torah controls, predicts and influences current events,” his website claims. “The Torah is a blueprint for events ...he has been able to decipher this blue print.”
Yet with amazing chutzpah, this is the same rabbi accused of using a bank account in the name of his religious book to funnel illicit profits from the fraud scheme even after he fled to Canada.
But then this is a Bible scholar with a checkered past and a dual nature.
New York prosecutors granted the lawyer immunity in return for his testimony about a scheme involving securities fraud, bribery, and money laundering in 1992. For his role, the Canadian-born David was suspended from the New York bar in 2004.
He’s alleged to have fled to Toronto two years later and operated his immigration fraud from here.
David told his bail hearing he was still practising as a New Jersey lawyer via long distance but only doing “foreclosure defence”.
Continuing his dichotomous nature, court also heard the divorced rabbi moved in with his Mexican lover several months before they wed in December 2010 and she’s now seven months pregnant. When not posting biblical essays on the website of his downtown synagogue, David was Twittering his numerological predictions.
So did he see this one coming? In a harsh rebuke, Ontario Superior Court Justice Maureen Forestell denied David’s request to be released from jail pending his extradition hearing.
“I am of the view that Mr. David is a very significant flight risk in light of his flight to Canada to avoid prosecution, his tenuous connection to this country and the likelihood that he could access false documents and hidden assets,” the judge said in her written decision.
“Mr. David has shown himself to be willing to mislead the court and I do not believe that he would feel bound to comply with terms of a release imposed by this Court any more than he has felt bound to tell the truth to the Court.”
The judge rejected his wife’s offer to post a $200,000 bond.
“The amount available for bail is not sufficient to compel the compliance of Mr. David,” she said. “Nor am I of the view that the presence of his pregnant wife would keep him in the jurisdiction. Mr. David fled the United States and did not see his 10-year old son for two years on his evidence. He has shown himself to be willing to abandon family members to avoid prosecution.”
If only David had decoded the clues. Or maybe he did.
Scanning his Tweets, we find one from just a month before his arrest - his numerological explanation for the Hebrew letters spelling “thief.”
“The thief goes up because he has the merchandise,” David explained. “However when he gets caught, he loses the loot and ends up behind bars so he ends up down.”