Israel: A Refuge for Swindlers

A lot of the Jews are thieves.” Thus mentioned the founding father of Israel, David Ben Gurion,…

A lot of the Jews are thieves.” Thus mentioned the founding father of Israel, David Ben Gurion, when he heard about Jewish troopers carrying Persian rugs from freshly looted Arab properties throughout the Arab-Israeli battle. If he had been round right now, I don’t assume Ben Gurion would discover any motive to transform his opinion, and he most likely wouldn’t be stunned to seek out out that Israel has develop into a hub of worldwide fraud.

A latest hit for Netflix is the documentary The Tinder Swindler, which charts the outlandish profession of Israeli con artist Shimon Hayut, the son of a rabbi, who manipulated numerous predominantly Scandinavian girls into collectively handing over greater than $10 million. Hayut’s modus operandi is that outdated favourite of Jewish white-collar criminals — the Ponzi scheme, although Hayut inflected it with a romantic twist.

Utilizing the alias Simon Leviev on the relationship app Tinder, Hayut informed his gullible victims that he was the son of Lev Leviev, CEO of one of many world’s largest diamond merchants. He would initially lavish the ladies with items and journeys on non-public jets (funded by a earlier sufferer), earlier than introducing the concept that he was underneath menace from unspecified enemies, that his monetary accounts had been inexplicably locked, and that he wanted “loans” from the ladies that he would repay many occasions over when an “imminent deal” value many thousands and thousands was accomplished. The ladies had been pressured into requesting, after which extending, financial institution loans in their very own names, usually till they had been as a lot as $300,000 in debt. As soon as Hayut had extracted the utmost attainable funds from a girl, he would start utilizing a few of it to groom a brand new sufferer.

Shifting from girl to girl, and nation to nation, Hayut lived a life-style of personal jets, worldwide journey, caviar, and designer garments till a Norwegian newspaper lastly helped safe his arrest in Greece in 2019 for utilizing a faux passport. He was then despatched to Israel, the place authorities launched him after simply 5 months. He stays a free man in Israel, and seems as rich as ever.

Whereas the now-viral Netflix documentary may be very fascinating and well-made, it does a really poor job of contextualizing and framing Hayut’s conduct. Hayut’s profession of fraud is offered solely by way of the perils of on-line relationship, and, ludicrously, as a type of feminist revenge story (regardless of the very fact the ladies fell into Hayut’s clutches partly by their very own thirst for a lavish life-style, and the ultimate justice served on Hayut was ridiculously weak to say the least).

Little or no is product of the very fact Hayut started his profession in fraud as an adolescent, sparking questions of cultural affect, and there’s no remark in any respect on the peculiar method by which Hayut appeared to focus on Scandinavian girls specifically. However the extra egregious oversight is unquestionably that Hayut suits extremely nicely right into a sample that’s absurdly frequent — the ubiquity of Israeli con artists of worldwide attain, and their behavior of discovering a really accommodative justice system within the State of Israel.

An Israeli Specialty

Worldwide fraud of all types is an Israeli specialty. Israel’s Cash Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority receives frequent requests for info from monetary intelligence models in no less than 19 international locations all over the world. The principle crimes which can be the point of interest of those requests are “cash laundering, fraud, notably funding scams, binary choices and foreign exchange scams, bribery and corruption, forgery and unlawful playing.” If there’s a approach for somebody to be parted from their cash, you may be positive there’s an Israeli working very laborious to perform it.

In June 2021, an operation led by German police secured the arrest of ten Jews of varied nationalities for working faux funding websites that defrauded European buyers of round $36 million. In a fraud scheme that Europol mentioned was “organized primarily by Israeli nationals,” the criminals operated the faux funding websites Tradorax, Tradervc, Kayafx, Kontofx and Libramarkets. Tradorax used the platform equipped by Israel’s SpotOption, which was charged with fraud by the US Securities and Change Fee in April 2021.

In line with Europol, the Jewish community lured hundreds of victims by promoting on social media and search engines like google and yahoo. These victims had been then inspired to spend money on high-risk choices, CFDs or cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, in keeping with German police, the cash was by no means truly invested however merely taken by the Jews concerned. Throughout raids in a number of international locations, police seized digital gadgets, actual property, jewellery, high-end automobiles and roughly $2.4 million in money.

The case was paying homage to the story of the Canadian-Israeli Cartu brothers. In Might 2020, the Ontario Securities Fee introduced civil costs in opposition to David, Jonathan, and Joshua Cartu for soliciting Canadians to commerce binary choices. The trio scammed residents of Ontario alone out of $1.4 million, however the complete worth of their globally-operated scheme was estimated at $233 million.

The brothers dwell lavishly right now in Israel, secure within the information that “Israeli prosecutors have but to indict a single binary choices suspect on costs of fraud.” The Occasions of Israel factors out that the brothers’ story is simply a part of a a lot wider state of affairs by which “tons of of corporations in Israel employed hundreds of Israelis who allegedly fleeced billions out of victims worldwide.”

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8 Israelis arrested within the Philippines in 2018 for working a multi-million greenback rip-off

5 months in the past, 26 Israelis had been arrested for operating a cryptocurrency fraud scheme that focused US buyers. The suspects, often known as the ‘Wolves of Tel Aviv,’ had been mentioned to be advertising merchandise and investments, with out offering returns, and preserving the victims’ cash. In line with a police assertion, “the entire 26 suspects of the alleged fraud are residents of Israel, and the victims all dwell overseas.”

The Israeli information station i24News commented that “Israel has been a serious hub of on-line fraud in recent times.” A month after the arrest of the ‘Wolves of Tel Aviv,’ an additional eight Israelis had been arrested, together with Moshe Hogeg, who owns the Beitar Jerusalem soccer membership. Israeli police mentioned the group had been detained on suspicion of “of cryptocurrency fraud of as a lot as tons of of thousands and thousands of U.S. {dollars}.”

A Criminals’ Paradise

A poor historical past of complying with extradition requests along with beneficiant tax breaks for millionaires has resulted in Israel, and Tel Aviv specifically, being perceived as a criminals’ paradise. Remarking on Israel’s “large fraudulent on-line and rip-off trade” and its potential to “undermine Israel’s financial repute and stoke anti-Semitism,” the Occasions of Israel identified {that a} 2008 piece of laws had acted as a “a nudge and a wink to would-be tax evaders and cash launderers worldwide to settle in Israel and launder their cash right here.” The regulation grants a 10-year tax exemption on revenue earned overseas to olim hadashim (new immigrants) in addition to toshavim hozrim vatikim (returning residents who’ve lived overseas for no less than 10 years) and different eligible new residents. It additionally provides a 10-year exemption on reporting earnings overseas to folks in these classes. It’s a magnet for Jewish thieves.

Final week, plastic surgeon David Morrow and his spouse Linda, dubbed “The Jewish Bonnie and Clyde,” confronted the American justice system two years after it was found the pair had been working one of the vital in depth and sickening well being care frauds in California historical past. In complete, the Morrows are thought to have price insurance coverage corporations between $25 million and $65 million for procedures that had been medically pointless. In line with the Jerusalem Put up,

They had been lively and extremely revered members of the Orthodox Jewish communities in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Palm Springs and really beneficiant contributors to Jewish causes. … They had been arrested in California on costs of dishonest medical health insurance corporations of greater than “tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} for beauty procedures that weren’t medically obligatory,”

in keeping with the US Legal professional’s Central District of California workplace of the Division of Justice. Add to {that a} responsible plea of conspiring to commit mail fraud and submitting a false tax return, Dr. Morrow was in enormous hassle. He was sentenced in absentia to twenty years in federal jail and had his medical license revoked. In her ruling, Choose Josephine L. Staton famous that Morrow’s “greed knew no bounds,” and that he confirmed an “utter disregard for sufferers’ well-being and security.”

The pair had been sentenced in absentia as a result of they rapidly liquidated their belongings and moved to Israel the place they could possibly be amongst their co-ethnics and never have their wealth probed or questioned. In line with locals in Israel, earlier than the FBI lastly orchestrated a uncommon extradition (for Linda — David continues to be combating the case from an Israeli jail) “they had been very lively within the congregation, went to shiurim (lessons) and synagogue features.”

In 2017, the Occasions of Israel commented on the arrest of “35 people for allegedly operating a community of rip-off boiler rooms.” The gang operated secret name facilities inside residential flats within the cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Netanya, defrauding folks in Europe and North America with quite a lot of completely different scams. One methodology was the CEO rip-off, the place the fraudsters impersonated senior executives in a European firm and persuaded workers to wire cash to the Jews’ Israeli financial institution accounts.

Different workers referred to as corporations in Europe promoting items and providers that by no means materialized. A authorities prosecutor fearful that “The phenomenon has develop into a nationwide scourge in each Israel and overseas. It’s inflicting injury to the repute of the state of Israel in addition to to Jews in different international locations.” The Occasions of Israel remarked that lots of these arrested had been Jews from America and France, and that they had been assisted by “hundreds of Israelis.”

Probably the most distinguished instance, after all, is the so-called “sting of the century,” by which over 1 billion euros was stolen by way of a tax rip-off between November 2008 and June 2009 from the French authorities. The theft was carried out by French Jews Arnaud Mimran, Marco Mouly, and Samy Souied from a Tel Aviv workplace. The trio had been assisted by a major variety of co-ethnics, with the Occasions of Israel reporting that “six of the defendants had been tried in absentia and are believed to be residing in Israel.”

In a Might 2016 interview with the Occasions of Israel, Laurent Combourieu, director of investigations for the the Autoritй des marchйs financiers (AMF), France’s securities authority, mentioned that there’s overlap between the French-Israeli residents who had been concerned in tax fraud carried out in opposition to the French authorities from Israel, and the perpetrators of the continued wave of on-line buying and selling fraud concentrating on French audio system. Up to now six years, in keeping with the Paris prosecutor, French residents had misplaced 4.5 billion euros to on-line buying and selling and CEO scams, with many of those perpetrated from Israel.

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That Israel is a hub for Jewish worldwide criminality is additional indicated by a random sampling of the financial institution accounts of recent immigrants who had moved to Israel between 2008–2012, carried out by the Israeli state comptroller. It was discovered that “one in six had been discovered to have irregular exercise that brought on the financial institution to flag them for suspected cash laundering.”

In 2013, the OECD World Discussion board on Transparency and Change of Info for Tax Functions pressured Israel to cancel the exemption from submitting tax returns by new immigrants and veteran returning residents, in an effort to take away what many noticed as a transparent incentive to worldwide criminality. Israel agreed to vary their laws in Might of that 12 months, however virtually 9 years later it has but to take action. Within the Worldwide Narcotics Management Technique Report (INCSR) issued by the U.S. State Division, Israel is mentioned as a “a serious money-laundering nation.” The report provides that

Israel’s ‘proper of return’ citizenship legal guidelines imply that legal figures discover it simple to acquire an Israeli passport with out assembly lengthy residence necessities. It isn’t unusual for legal figures suspected of cash laundering to carry passports in a house nation, a 3rd nation for enterprise, and Israel.

Some Issues

Writing in Mein Kampf, Hitler argued throughout a dialogue of Zionism that “What [Jews] actually are aiming at is to ascertain a central group for his or her worldwide swindling and dishonest. As a sovereign State, this can’t be managed by any of the opposite States. Subsequently it will possibly function a refuge for swindlers who’ve been discovered and on the similar time a high-school for the coaching of different swindlers.”

All issues thought of, that is clearly a really prescient remark that has an plain ring of fact in mild of the info offered above. Removed from being an instance of fortune-telling, nonetheless, the prediction rests on what would right now be considered sure anti-Semitic assumptions based mostly on stereotypical traits related to Jews.

The primary of those assumptions is that Jews have a particular relationship with, or curiosity in, cash. Assuming an ethnic group has a particular relationship with, or curiosity in, cash would clearly lead one to foretell a variety of issues. The group is perhaps, on common, wealthier than different teams. It would produce extra billionaires. Its criminality may additionally be mirrored much less in violent offences than in these most immediately correlated with the acquisition of wealth. By most metrics, Jews are certainly wealthier than different teams. With regard to crime, there’s additionally a transparent skewing in direction of wealth acquisition.

In 1971 A. Menachem of the Berkeley Faculty of Criminology printed a examine in Points in Criminology titled “Criminality Amongst Jews: An Overview.”[1] On this examine, Menachem argued that ‘the Jewish crime price tends to be greater than that of non-Jews and different spiritual teams for white-collar offenses, that’s, business or commercially associated crimes, corresponding to fraud, fraudulent chapter, and embezzlement.”

In 1988, Yale College’s Stanton Wheeler printed “White-Collar Crimes and Criminals” for the Yale Regulation Faculty Authorized Scholarship Repository. Amongst Wheeler’s findings had been that whereas Protestants and Catholics had been under-represented amongst white-collar criminals relative to their share of the inhabitants, Jews had been over-represented to a really massive diploma (2 % of the inhabitants, 15.2 % of white-collar convictions). Wheeler states that “It could be a good abstract of our information to say that, demographically talking, white-collar offenders are predominantly middle-aged white males with an over-representation of Jews.”

Whereas Stanton’s statistics are enlightening in themselves, a extra detailed image emerges in David Weisburd’s Yale-published Crimes of the Center Courses: White-Collar Offenders within the Federal Courts (1991). Right here Weisburd informs us that though Jews comprise solely round 2 % of america inhabitants, they contribute no less than 9 % of decrease class white-collar crimes (financial institution embezzlement, tax fraud and financial institution fraud), no less than 15 % of average class white-collar crimes (mail fraud, false claims, and bribery), and no less than 33 % of excessive class white-collar crimes (antitrust and securities fraud).

Weisburg’s up to date information confirmed that total, Jews had been chargeable for an astonishing 23.9 % of economic crime in America.[2] Given the statistical information, to not point out the well-charted historic trajectory of Jewish monetary conduct,[3] the argument {that a} Jewish predilection for monetary misdeeds is a mere “canard” is unsustainable.

Needing to amass wealth, and really buying it both legitimately or illegally, are clearly two various things. Jews are geared up for wealth acquisition, together with legal wealth acquisition, by the identical background traits that facilitate their effectivity in social and political activism: ethnocentrism, intelligence, psychological depth, and aggression.[4]

Ethnocentrism clearly performs a big position in worldwide Jewish scams based mostly in Israel. Many of those large-scale frauds are perpetrated by teams consisting of Individuals, Bulgarians, Canadians, Romanians, Italians, and so forth, whose solely substantial frequent floor is their shared ethno-religious background. Felony exercise is inherently dangerous, so the extent of belief amongst people from such different nationwide teams is all of the extra astonishing.

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Coupled with the virtually unique concentrating on of outgroups (U.S. residents, Canadians, Europeans, and others), the clannish high quality of those Jewish teams drawn from the diaspora and based mostly in Israel emphasizes the power of Jewish ethnocentrism as a foundational base for Israeli worldwide monetary crime. In an additional demonstration of Jewish ethnocentrism, or belief in a single’s co-ethnics, the flight of many worldwide Israeli swindlers to Israel, or their “disappearance” within the state, suggests a degree of consolation and expectation from different Jews. Jews who’ve defrauded outgroups actually do anticipate the federal government and state of Israel to be their refuge, and fairly often, by lenient sentences or lack of investigation, they’re proved appropriate in having that expectation.

Intelligence can be key to the success and perpetuation of Israeli-based worldwide fraud. Lots of the schemes mentioned above are comparatively advanced, requiring excessive ranges of understanding of worldwide monetary markets, banking practices, authorized loopholes, differing nationwide requirements and laws, net and software program design, SEO, and the entire expertise related to cash laundering. As talked about above, Israelis are chargeable for a few of the greatest thefts within the monetary historical past of a number of nations, usually involving government-level fraud. These frauds have been executed due to the enter of huge numbers of very smart and multi-skilled Jews who devoted themselves to the legal acquisition of wealth.

This excessive dedication to wealth acquisition is clearly pushed by vital psychological depth. In lots of circumstances, the frauds required a unprecedented degree of audacity, e.g., involving the impersonation of main CEOs and even authorities figures. In a single such instance, in 2019 an Israeli rip-off operation obtained round $90 million after impersonating French international minister Jean-Yves le Drian, calling African heads of state, ambassadors, clergy and enterprise figures, and asking them to assist France pay ransom for French residents kidnapped by ISIL or different terrorist teams in Syria.

The impersonator donned a custom-designed silicone masks of the French minister’s head and spoke to his targets by way of Skype from an workplace embellished with the French flag and a portrait of French Prime Minister Emanuel Macron. The 4 ringleaders had been finally arrested in Netanya, which appears to be second solely to Tel Aviv within the variety of worldwide scams it has hosted. The French had been sufficiently incensed for an Israeli police officer to inform a neighborhood choose that ““This can be a case with worldwide diplomatic repercussions. This isn’t an extraordinary case however one with nice worldwide sensitivities that has brought on a diplomatic incident between our two international locations.”

The Occasions of Israel laments that “An Web seek for ‘rip-off’ and ‘Israel’ in French yields tons of of articles, lots of that are accompanied by anti-Semitic slurs within the feedback part. … Regardless of the injury such fraudulent actions are doing to Israel’s repute, Israeli regulation enforcement has made only a few arrests and prosecuted even fewer suspects within the decade or extra because the phenomenon first arose.”

Lastly, Israeli worldwide monetary crime requires aggression. An fascinating facet of The Tinder Swindler concerned the style by which Shimon Hayut dropped the veil as soon as he realized a selected girl had given him all the cash she may or would. Threats and insults had been instant. The elemental drive behind a lot of the mentioned Jewish Worldwide scams is aggressive, involving types of coercion and manipulation in opposition to a backdrop of callous disregard and disdain for the focused outgroups. These aggressive features, after all, solely spotlight these situations by which a few of the ill-gotten proceeds, as within the case of the Morrows for instance, generously discover their method to Jewish charitable causes — which brings us full circle to ethnocentrism.

The priority proven by the Israeli press, and a few authorities officers, that such exercise will result in a rise in anti-Semitism is predicated for essentially the most half on the implicit understanding that “anti-Semitic” assumptions in regards to the traits related to Jews (particular curiosity in cash, ethnocentrism, intelligence, psychological depth, and aggression) have a foundation in reality. Such issues additionally indicate the worry that wider information or dialogue of those large-scale frauds based mostly in Israel will undo many many years of propaganda that has satisfied outgroups that such assumptions are false or bigoted, and that Israel is a pure buddy and ally to Western nations.

The truth is that Israel is completely happy to welcome internationally looted funds into its financial system, and cares little for the opinion of different nations. The nation’s founder wouldn’t be stunned.


[1] A. Menachem, “Criminality Amongst Jews: An Overview,” Points in Criminality, Quantity 6, Difficulty 2, (Summer time 1971), 1-39.

[2] D. Weisburg, Crimes of the Center Courses: White-Collar Offenders within the Federal Courts (Yale College Press, 1991), 72

[3] For instance, throughout Europe, between 1881 and 1914, Jews had been over-represented in chapter, forgery, fraud and libel. See P. Knepper, The Invention of Worldwide Crime: A World Difficulty within the Making, 1881-1914, (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), 80. The pattern, after all, went a lot additional again in historical past.

[4] Okay. MacDonald, “Background Traits for Jewish Activism,” The Occidental Quarterly: A Journal of Western Thought and Opinion (Summer time 2003): 1-37.