Ofer Biton is accused of siphoning money meant for a charity.
The New York Daily News:
Feds probe 2 in swindle of rabbi-run charity
Rabbi to the Stars Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto was alleged victim of multimillion-dollar scam
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto claims to be a victim of scam. His former aide and a high-powered public relations flack are being investigated by the feds.
The feds are investigating the disappearance of millions of dollars earmarked for a charity run by the so-called Rabbi to the Stars, it was disclosed Tuesday.
A lawyer for Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto said the kabbalah scholar has been the victim of an embezzlement scheme carried out by two persons who worked for his organization.
The New York Times identified the targets of the probe as Ofer Biton, a former aide to the rabbi, and high-powered public relations flack Ronn Torossian.
“My client is definitely a victim,” said lawyer Arthur Aidala.
“The rabbi’s monies were stolen.”
Aidala said the rabbi has turned over all documents the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office requested and fully cooperated in the probe. A spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch declined to comment.
Followers of the rabbi claim Biton and Torossian extorted money from him by threatening to plant damaging stories about him in the media, The Times reported.
Biton’s lawyer did not return a message seeking comment.
Torossian’s lawyer, Barry Slotnick, denied the allegations.
“Mr. Torossian has indicated in the past and presently that he has not done anything wrong with respect to Rabbi Pinto,” he said.
Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner regularly attended classes the rabbi gave before Weiner resigned in a texting scandal.
The New York Post:
‘Royal’ rabbi ‘ripped off’
An Orthodox rabbi and mystic-to-the-stars — who traces his lineage to King David — claims he’s the victim of a huge embezzlement and extortion scheme by two former cohorts suspected of looting millions from his charity, sources told The Post yesterday.
Charismatic Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, 39, whose devotees reportedly include real-estate big shots, members of Congress and even NBA star LeBron James, had been under fire in the Jewish press for his lavish lifestyle even as millions of dollars in donations went missing.
But the sources said that two former insiders hatched a scheme to embezzle money from Pinto’s nonprofit and extort even more by spilling their guts to the press about embarrassing details of the jet-setting rabbi’s spending habits and personal life.
No one has been arrested.
But sources said the FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have been scrutinizing Israeli businessman Ofer Biton, 38, and Manhattan p.r. hotshot Ronn Torossian, 37, for nearly a year.
Both men yesterday denied any wrongdoing.