An Iran-born former Israeli was arrested on weapons charges Monday after he allegedly tried to buy grenades from undercover cops. Police said an assault rifle and ammunition were found in the Queens apartment of Joshua Hedvat, according to the New York Post. Hedvat, 57, through his attorney, Samantha Seda, said he was "set up," the Post reported.
Hedvat, of Forest Hills, is well known among rabbis and Jewish organizations in Queens, from whom he sought help in recovering a family fortune he said was stolen by an investment broker. According to an account by a neighbor, Ray Kestenbaum, published in The Jewish Week in 2001, Hedvat’s family in Iran had wired its life savings, about $250,000, to him in the United States, and Hedvat believed he was investing it conservatively. A 13-year lawsuit against the broker was dismissed in 1997 as being "without merit," Kestenbaum wrote.
But Hedvat insisted the case was rigged. Lawrence Cohler-Esses, then an investigative journalist for the Daily News, said Hedvat called repeatedly for a year urging him to look into the case.
Kestenbaum wrote that Hedvat had fought the Egyptians in Israel’s war of attrition in the 1960s before immigrating here in 1973 and running a garment business. Neighbors told the Daily News that Hedvat, who lives alone, was troubled and often spoke of violence but never acted on his words.