Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Midwood resident Yaakov Weingarten, his wife, Rivka, and two Weingarten employees, Simon Weiss and David Yifat.
The group of Israel-centric charities for which the AG's Charities Bureau has demanded to see records includes Magen Israel, Hatzalah Rescue of Israel, the Hayad Victim Assistance Fund, the Pulse Foundation, Zaka Israel and Shearim, Inc.
Only four of the groups under investigation by the AG have filed the required annual financial reports.
The lawsuit alleges that from 2007 to 2013, the defendants siphoned off $2.5 million for themselves and their families, spending donations intended for Israel on home mortgages, remodeling second homes, car loans, dentist bills, video rentals, and a trip to an Atlantic City casino.
In a scheme with nationwide reach, the defendants allegedly used deceptive, hard-sell "boiler room" tactics to solicit money from Jews seeking to help Israel. But only a fraction of the donations actually ended up in Israel.
Defendants allegedly wasted $65,000 in charitable donations on overdraft fees for 2,100 bounced checks.
Through the subpoena, the AG seeks to to find out if the looted charities were legally incorporated; the identity of all corporate officers; bank records; details about where donations come from; and a record of expenditures since 2007.
Defendant Yaakov Weingarten, who invoked the 5th Amendment and retained attorney Sheldon Eisenberger in the lawsuit, has asked a Manhattan Supreme Court justice to quash the subpoena.
The AG seeks to close the Weingarten-linked charities, which have been barred by court order from soliciting any more donations, their bank accounts frozen.
The article from the Daily News.
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