Eight men and several Spinka charities charged with tax fraud in Los Angeles

Monday, December 24, 2007

Eight men and five Brookyln-based Spinka charitable organizations have been charged with tax fraud and money laundering. Six have been arrested, and two are still at large.

The men charged are Naftali Tzi Weisz, 59, a Grand Rabbi from Brooklyn; Gabbai Moseh E. Zigelman, 60, also from Brooklyn and Weisz’ assistant; Yaacov Zeivald, 43, of Valley Village; Yosef Nachum Naiman, 55, of Los Angeles; Alan Jay Friedman, 43, of Los Angeles; Joseph Roth, 66, an international accounts manager at a bank in Israel from Tel Aviv; diamond merchant Moshe Arie Lazar, 60; and Jacob Ivan Kantor, 71, an attorney from Tel Aviv. The first six were arrested last Wednesday, and four of them have been released on bail. The FBI believes Lazar to be in Israel. Kantor is also believed to be in Israel according to other reports.

The charitiable organizations named as defendants in the charges are Yeshiva Imrei Yosef, Yeshivath Spinka, Central Rabbinical Seminary, Machne Sva Rotzohn, and Mesivta Imrei Yosef Spinka. The FBI alleges that these charities issued fraudulent receipts for bogus charitable contributions and were the beneficiaries of fees charged for transfers of funds as part of a money laundering conspiracy.

By a 37-count grand jury indictment that was unsealed on Wednesday morning, Weisz and Zigelman are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and other crimes, 19 counts of mail fraud, one money laundering conspiracy count, 11 counts of international money laundering, and one count of operating an illegal money remitting business. Zigelman is in addition charged with two counts of aiding in the preparation of fraudulent income tax returns. Zeivald, Lazar, Naiman, and Friedman are charged in the main conspiracy count and with operating an illegal money remitting business. Zeivald is in addition charged with one count of mail fraud. Roth is charged in both conspiracy counts; several mail fraud counts; and several international money laundering counts. Kantor is charged in both of the conspiracy counts and several international money laundering counts.

The charges laid are that over a period of 10 years the conspirators solicited USD8.7 million in contributions to these charitable organizations, promising to secretly refund to the donors up to 95%, allowing the donors to claim the full amounts of the donations as tax deductions on their federal income tax returns. According to the FBI, this was done in two ways: Some donors received cash payments through an underground money transfer network involving Zeivald, Naiman, Friedman, and Lazar, some of whom operated businesses in and around the Los Angeles jewelry district. Other donors were reimbursed via loans made from the United States branch of an Israeli bank, organized by Roth and Kantor and secured on funds secretly held in that bank in Israel, to which the donations had been sent via wire transfer.

Several of the Brooklyn charitable organizations are schools. One such is Yeshiva Imrei Yosef, a private Orthodox Jewish school for boys in grades PK–12 with 312 students, which is one of 5000 such organizations approved for charitable donations by the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco. The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles draws a parallel between these charges and the creation of bogus schools in the case of New Square, quoting Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, as saying “I think that in Eastern Europe, especially where corruption was rampant, it was very common for Jews to engage in, shall we say, ‘extra-legal activities’ when they believed they were doing so not for their personal gain but for the good of the community or for some higher purpose.”

His observation is that defrauding a corrupt government is part of the culture that has sometimes been carried in to the United States, and that people justify it when they believe that the money is going towards Jewish education. “I think the idea is that Jewish education is so important and so expensive and the folks say to themselves, ‘we’re forced to pay for public education which we don’t use’, and they manage to sometimes justify in their own minds these kinds of activities that are for the sake of a holy end.”

Sarna states that violating the law is not condoned by Jewish communities in the U.S., a sentiment that has been echoed in reactions from the Los Angeles Jewish community, such as that by Rabbi Meyer H. May, president of the Rabbinical Council of California: “One thing is clear: The Orthodox community deplores any attempt to defraud the government of the United States, and there is no excuse for it, and there’s no rationalizations that are acceptable. […] It’s against the Torah and it’s against our moral foundation. At the same time, regarding these specific individuals, they should be allowed to have a fair trial, as everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

The FBI’s press release contains a similar reminder of the presumption of innocence.

Calls by the New York Times were unable to obtain any comments on the case from the defendants.

Albanian group claims responsibility for Macedonia clashes

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A group, calling itself the Political-Military Council of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) says it was behind yesterday’s armed clash with Macedonian police forces which left at least six dead.

In a statement, the organization claims that its members, formerly of the “Albanian Territorial Liberation Army“, had been “forced to assemble a regular military unit in order to protect the endangered Albanian people, and every inch of Albanian territory.“

This Thursday, the situation in the Tetovo region village, the scene of yesterday’s battle, is calm.

Bratz picture filmed at high school in rough area of Los Angeles, while in session

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Described in press materials as a “low budget” production, the crew of Bratz: The Movie turned to a busy LA high school to film the picture’s main scenes.

Shot in 30 days, during February and March 2007, the film had to work around the roughly 3,500 students at Santee Educational Complex in South Los Angeles, California. Most productions, like High School Musical and Degrassi: The Next Generation, do principal photography shoots during the summer. Since the Bratz film had a summer release, and the Santee school goes year-round, such a pattern was impossible.

Director Sean McNamara “was adamant about using this school”, named in the film as “Carry Nation High”, said production designer Rusty Smith. “We knew it was going to be complicated, and it was, but we pulled it off. I’m sure it was a big distraction for us to be there and it’s really a compliment to the principal and the students’ cooperation because we couldn’t have done it without them.”

One of the stars, Chelsea Staub, agreed. “I was amazed at how orderly and respectful the students at Santee High were during our invasion.” She admits that she “would have had issues walking by our heavenly omelet station every morning,” if she were a Santee student.

Such good behavior could be deemed extra surprising considering the school, which opened in 2005, is located in an area known for its amount of gangs. Some students walk through 50 different gang “territories” on the way to school, 18 of which have documented members enrolled as students. Students have brought AK-47s to class, and jumped police officers for their guns. A two day melee at the school, whose principal is a former cop, resulted in 34 arrests and 10 hospitalizations, mostly for pepper-spray-related injuries. Half of the instructors, as of March 2006, were in their first year of teaching.

The school board superintendent and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rode the bus to the first day the bus was routed through the neighbourhood; a photographer for the Los Angeles Times caught a 10th grader tagging a window. The first gun shots rang out the second day the school was open.

Bratz: The Movie is a story based on an internationally successful line of dolls. Three “best friends forever” are forced by the queen bee of the high school to separate into various existing cliques. Growing lonely, they rebel by choosing to be true to themselves.

“Filming at a real high school was interesting because you could see real cliques and compare them to the simulated cliques in the movie,” commented Logan Browning, one of the movie’s stars, herself a senior in high school.

Staub, who plays the antagonist Meredith, also felt the real-life location was beneficial to the movie. “All the sounds and background images helped make it real for me. The shifting echoes of students on the bleachers and school bells that released the chaos of kids changing classes made me feel like I was truly a part of the high school experience as opposed to doing a scene on a soundstage.”

“The presence of that school and the way it’s laid out, almost like a prison, became a major character in the film,” said production designer Rusty Smith. (Interestingly, Meredith’s mantra in the movie is “take no prisoners”.) The school, devoid of color, easily contrasted against the vibrant and unique bedrooms of the Bratz girls. “We knew it was going to be complicated and it was but we pulled it off. I’m sure it was a big distraction for us to be there and it’s really a compliment to the principal and the students’ cooperation because we couldn’t have done it without them.”

A 16-foot high sculpture was added to the school courtyard, to help transform it into Carry Nation. The sculpture was of Nation, the most infamous and formidable member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in pre-prohibition America, wielding her hatchet in one hand and Bible in the other.

The production also filmed in the residential neighborhood of Studio City, and The Grove, a popular shopping centre at the heart of West Hollywood, both areas of Los Angeles.

The film opens in theaters across the United States and Canada on August 3, in the United Kingdom on August 17, in Spain on August 24, and Australia and New Zealand September 20.

Eight dead and two missing after cargo ship fire in Kaliningrad, Russia

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eight people are dead and two more are missing and presumed dead after an explosion and fire on a cargo ship undergoing repairs at a naval dockyard in Kaliningrad, Russia.

The container ship MV Yenisey was the scene of an explosion while in drydock at about 3:00 p.m. Moscow time (11:00 GMT). Ten people were missing after the explosion. It was confirmed today that the eighth body has been recovered, and the remaining two are thought to be dead as well. Three more were injured.

Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo, acting as a navy spokesperson, said “Each family of the victims of the fire on the Yenisey civilian vessel will be paid more than a million rubles.” This makes their compensation roughly equivalent to US$43,000.

Dygolo said that the dockyard, in the closed military town of Baltiysk, near Kaliningrad, had been leased to the Yenisey’s St Petersburg owner, a private company, who were conducting the work themselves. He said an investigation has been launched by the navy led by top admiral Vladimir Vysotsky.

Vysotski himself has indicated that serious safety legislation breaches concerning welding regulations by both the vessel’s owner and the naval dockyard’s bosses. He did not go into details, but RIA Novosti claimed that a source at the dockyard said a gas burner applied to the roof of a fuel tank to heat and therefore loosen its bolts had triggered the disaster.

Today is an official day of mourning for Kaliningrad Region to mark the deaths.

Immediate life insurance website launched, first in world

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The first website in the world allowing consumers to buy life insurance online instantly has been launched today, targeting specifically New Zealanders.

The website, run by life insurance company Pinnacle Life, allows New Zealanders in many countries in the world to buy life insurance online without the need for a medical examination. Once the application has been approved, which is done immediately, the consumer can receive a $500,000 life insurance policy via an automatic e-mail. However, if certain conditions have been highlighted, then person to person contact is required to finalise the process.

Ed Saul, senior partner and architect of the new website, says, “We’re giving consumers a quicker and easier way to buy life insurance. Instead of submitting an application form and waiting days for a policy to be approved and issued, we do it online and we do it immediately.”

“The revolutionary website gives consumers complete control over the buying process whilst eliminating the previously obligatory involvement of people and paper. This is a global test case eagerly watched by the insurance industry around the world,” Mr Saul said.

When applying online, a few typical questions are asked on personal information and if the applicant has had any previous illnesses or diseases.

The countries where New Zealand citizens are allowed to apply are UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA.

Norwegian government considers prosecuting Scientology

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services is considering prosecuting and banning some Scientology practices, in particular the use of the Scientology personality test to sell courses. State Secretary Rigmor Aasrud said that the activities in question might be prosecuted as fraud or as violations of existing healthcare regulations. A Norwegian Member of Parliament (MP) whose daughter killed herself after taking such a test, supports the idea of prosecuting illegal practices rather than trying to ban the movement as a whole.

Also stupid or clearly false expressions must be allowed as free expressions in a democracy, as long as individuals are not harmed by the expressions. The questionable thing about the Scientology cult is, however, that their operation is harmful for individuals.

The statement was made after three journalists from the online edition of the newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) took the test. The journalists wore hidden recording devices, and did not disclose that they were journalists; VG put the recordings on its website. Scientology staff members told all three that they should buy a course to handle psychological issues. Two of the journalists filled out the 200 questions with honest answers, while the third gave answers consistent with being depressed. The “depressed” journalist was told that he should avoid traditional medicine, while one of the “normal” journalists was told that the course was her only hope for improvement unless she wanted to start taking “chemicals”.

Matthias Fosse, spokesperson for the Church of Scientology in Norway, said that the staff members in question were acting individually. He said that the Church of Scientology does not give medical advice, but that it encourages people to focus on the side effects of medications, and is critical of the “over-medication” of psychiatric patients.

Olav Gunnar Ballo, a Norwegian MP and medical doctor whose daughter Kaja suddenly killed herself after a negative experience with the Scientology test in France in March 2008, released a book about Kaja Ballo‘s life in April 2009. The book debuted on 2nd place in the Norwegian best seller list. Ballo listened to the recorded test result sessions from VG and said that he found the practice “horrible and harmful”. He told the newspaper Dagbladet that Norway could have something to learn from the current French prosecution of Scientology corporations and individuals, by prosecuting specific harmful practices rather than banning Scientology as a whole.

Matthias Fosse said that France is a far more secular society than Norway, and that France were going too far in their prosecution. He said that France has a list of 165 organizations considered to be “sects”, which not just included Scientology but also covered Baptists such as former U.S. president Bill Clinton. The list which Fosse referred to is a list from the 1995 Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France. Fosse said that the OSCE, the U.S. State Department and the UN had criticised French “violations of human rights”.

Pay More Attention On Sanitary Condition Of Kids Toys

Pay More Attention on Sanitary Condition of Kids Toys

by

tonysteve

Nowadays, parents are always too busy so that they buy too many kids toys for their children to play for killing time. Of course, kids\’ intelligence can be developed from the playing process. All in all, kids toys such as plush toys, toy bus and RC cars model are the essential partners in children\’s daily life. However, if you are scrupulous parents, you should notice that your kids always put their favorite toys on the floor to play, where is so dirty. Under such circumstance, toy are more likely to be contaminated by the bacteria, viruses and parasites, all of which are the accomplice of transmitting diseases.

According to the detection by bacteriologist, if you give children a toy and ask them to play for ten days, by the way, the toy is cleaned and disinfected before giving to children. Ten days later, the number of bacteria on the plastic toys is up to over 3000, and on the wooden toys, the number of bacteria is nearly 5000, what\’s more, the number of bacteria on the toys which is made from fur is actually more than 20000. When you hear this figure, do you think it is so terrible. Yes, parent should not only buy too many kids toys for children, but also pay more attention on cleaning and disinfecting kids toys regularly. As for how to clean and disinfect toys, the methods are depend on the different material of the toys. For example, when cleaning toys made from fur and cotton, you should firstly put them under the blazing sun for quite a long time. When cleaning wooden toys, you can use boiled water to wash. When cleaning the toys made from metal or tinplate, you can firstly use soap-suds to wash and then put them under the sunshine. Finally, when cleaning plastic and rubber toys, you can use all kinds of disinfectant to soak and then wash and dried.

YouTube Preview Image

In addition, as parents, you should ask children not to put toys casually at home. If conditions allow, there would be a relatively fixed place for kids to play with toys. At the same time, you can buy a special cupboard or toy box to keep toys. Children should not play toys in the kitchen or bathroom.

When playing with toys, children should not bite the toys with mouths because by this way the bacteria can easily be entered into mouth which would result in serious consequence.

Copyright by Tony Steve. Lots of

Toy Bus

such as Toy London Bus,

School Bus Toy

,

Toy Tour Bus

and so on are offered at Ezbustoys bus toy online store for both kids to play and model fans to collect. Affordable price and top quality.

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

General Motors automobile sales plunge by 45%

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

General Motors Corporation (GM) announced on Wednesday that it saw a 45% drop in United States vehicle sales for its cars in March.

Executives from several auto firms, however, said that there was some hope for the auto industry to stabilise, as car sales rebounded in the last week of March.

“The market is starting to show small signs of life which need to be nourished like seedlings,” said the vice president and chairman of Chrysler LLC Jim Press. “It’s too early to see a trend, but spring shows signs of hope.”

Other automobile manufacturers also saw their car sales slip: Chrysler and the Japanese Toyota both reported a 39% loss, whilst Ford Motor Company sales fell 41%.

Annualised sales of vehicles in the car industry in the US are predicted to have dipped below nine million in March, compared to February’s 9.12 million, which was the lowest number since 1981.

“Auto makers are pulling every lever in their effort to attract buyers, as evidenced by the new programs from Ford and GM. The typical incentive programs simply do not resonate in today’s economy,” Jesse Toprak, an analyst for Edmunds.

Ford shares gained 2.3% to a level of US$2.69 in early trading at US stock markets on Wednesday, while stocks for Toyota’s US depository increased 5.9% to $67. GM shares slipped 1.6% down to $1.92.

Australian Defence Department funds controversial development training

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Australia’s Department of Defence spent thousands of dollars on controversial development seminars, Australian media reported Wednesday. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training “est”, and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor.

Australia’s Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said that the government is in the process of reviewing Defence Department expenditures on career development. “We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs. … We have to be very sure that the courses that people do undertake are relevant, appropriate and indeed in line with what community expectations might be,” said Snowdon in an appearance on ABC Radio.

We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs.

The Australian and Australia’s ABC News reported that Landmark Education had been listed in France as a “possible cult” in the mid 1990s. When asked about this on ABC Radio, a spokeswoman for the company in the United States, Deborah Beroset, responded: “What happened in France was that a commission established by the French parliament issued a report in which they listed almost 200 organisations as being possible cults … We were never contacted. We were inappropriately included in that list”.

In a program which aired Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program AM reported that Australia’s Defence Department spent at least AUD12,270 of taxpayer funds to send government employees to Landmark Education courses. According to AM, the Defence Department said it does not appear that further funds have been sent to Landmark Education since 2004.

In a statement released by the Defence Department, the government stated: “A search of Defence records does not indicate exactly how many individuals attended courses with this training provider, however it is believed it was a small number of individuals. … Defence has been unable to determine individual reasons for why groups within Defence choose this training provider.”

AM also reported that the use of unpaid labor by Landmark Education “has attracted the attention of the US and French governments,” and that some individuals in the mental health field have accused the company of brainwashing. When asked about the allegations by mental health experts that Landmark Education’s techniques amounted to brainwashing, Deborah Beroset responded: “Well, there is absolutely no credence to that whatsoever.”

Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff.

In a March 9 article in the Herald Sun, Peter Rolfe reported that taxpayer money was used to send at least 37 police and government staff from Victoria, Australia to seminars run by Landmark Education. Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that “Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff,” but State Liberal MP Murray Thompson told the Herald Sun that the funds should have been put towards fighting crime. Apple Inc., Reebok, and Mercedes-Benz have sent employees to Landmark Education seminars, according to a spokeswoman for Landmark.

In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive, and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video.

Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called “est”, which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard’s company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as “The Forum” in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his “technology” and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.

US First Lady undergoes neck surgery

Saturday, September 8, 2007

United States First Lady Laura Bush underwent elective surgery on Saturday at George Washington University Hospital and is now “resting comfortably at the White House,” according to spokeswoman Sally McDonough. Last month, the First Lady injured her neck and shoulder during a hiking trip.

The neck surgery, called posterior cervical foraminotomy, was performed to alleviate pressure on several pinched nerves in her neck.

Laura was not able to accompany President George W. Bush for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Sydney, Australia because of the procedure.

The spokeswoman said the outpatient surgery was a minimally invasive procedure, and lasted about two-and-a-half hours.

After unsuccessful physical therapy treatments, doctors reportedly suggested surgery.

The First Lady reportedly spoke with the President during his trip back from the APEC forum and according to White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino “he [Bush] said she sounded very well…He looks forward to getting back to help her in the recovery.”