A Lakewood, N.J., man accused in lawsuits of bilking Orthodox investors in New York, Florida London and elsewhere out of nearly $300 million through phony real estate deals was arrested Thursday morning by federal agents.
Eliyahu Weinstein, who was accused of running a Ponzi scheme, and some of his associates had been hit days earlier with a $34 million civil judgment by a federal judge in Pennsylvania.
Weinstein was accused of selling the same property to multiple parties and collecting payments for property he did not own. Weinstein evidently convinced some of the people who accused him of wrongdoing to pursue civil rather than criminal remedies.
In court papers obtained by The Jewish Week, plaintiffs claim that Weinstein, 35, “orchestrated a fraudulent scheme” in which he made false representations — supported by counterfeit and false documents — about where and how their money would be invested, and misappropriated the funds for his own use.
At least one of the complaints alleges that Weinstein, described by some who know him as charismatic, friendly and charming, and hailing from a “yeshivish” family, may have laundered money through New York-area Jewish charities.
Some of the filings also assert that Weinstein specifically targeted other Orthodox Jews in what is described as an “affinity fraud.”