In Toronto Ponzi Scheme, I argued last week that stereotypes (such as the negative stereotype about Jews and money) are often based on a grain of truth. Just last night, I saw a memorable scene in the HBO series Deadwood where Al Swearengen, a central character, says, “Wave a penny under the Jew’s nose; if they got living breath in them, brings them right around.” I found myself laughing out loud.
Enter Naftali Tzi Weisz, the grand rabbi of the Brooklyn based “Spinka sect,” who was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for a tax evasion and a decade long, global money laundering scheme that cost American taxpayers millions of dollars. This conspiracy involved using tax-exempt donations to charitable organizations and writing them off as bogus tax deductions. Most of the money was funneled back to the Orthodox sect through international transfers, overseas accounts, and an underground banking network.
In the Jewish Power series, I discovered that American Jews give billions of dollars to charity every year. I can’t help but wonder how much of this is some type of money laundering.