ALL IN THE FAMILY XIII: SIMILAR PONZI FRAUDS

There seems to be this odd compulsion for criminals to be out there, in the open, in the public eye.  They like to be in many places and admired by everyone they meet.  Madoff’s wife is in the news again.  She was so helpless, she had to go to the bank to withdraw many millions of dollars the day before papa Madoff had to confess to his sons, the business was all a racket.  Of course, this makes her an accessory to a crime.  Two other con men were arrested today and they ran a much smaller ponzi scheme.  But followed the exact same rules and systems Madoff used.  The case of Reba Joseph Shereshevsky is interesting because it shows how religious/ethnic con games operate under the cover of the omerta of an immigrant group.

 

Man who killed parents as youth outed via Spanish TV reality show | World news | guardian.co.uk

Blue-eyed, curly-haired Cyril Jacquet was the perfect reality show participant. Young, attractive, outgoing and ambitious, he and his girlfriend, Paola Alberdi, were determined to win a new Spanish TV show called Around the World.

The show, on the Antena 3 channel, involves couples racing each other around the globe. It promised adventure, a €200,000 (£178,000) prize and, inevitably, fame.

Jacquet did not seem to realise, however, that fans of the show would inevitably start putting his name into their internet search engines and finding out a little bit more about him.

So it was that, on Sunday night, he returned from Venice and abandoned the show after programme-makers questioned him about internet rumours that as a 15-year-old he had murdered his mother and father…

Paola, who said she had always known about her boyfriend’s past, said: “It bothers me a lot that we have to go because someone wants to pour shit on someone else’s life. I know he is strong. If he has got to where he has, it is because he can handle anything.”

I am including this little story from today’s news because it illustrates how compulsive some people are.  Of all people on earth, a man who murdered his parents when a teenager, viciously and deliberately ambushing both and gunning them down, this is someone who should pray, they never are noticed again.  The Furies should be pursuing this psychotic young man!  

 

The primitive assessment of his girlfriend is interesting, too.  She thinks that murdering your parents in cold blood makes you ‘strong.’  And feels that this murderer can ‘handle anything’ since he is vicious enough to even kill his parents for some sort of gain!    It wasn’t even self-defense!  

 

Denial of guilt and a desire to be public isn’t all that usual.  Once, I belonged to a group which elevated a man to a position of great visibility.  A lady came to me in tears and told me about how he murdered his wife.  He claimed, he was cleaning his gun and his wife ended up dead!  This was before laws were passed imposing penalties on  men who are careless gun cleaners!  

 

Anyway, I went to the Board of Directors and told them to get rid of this guy.  He was a bad choice.  They didn’t and I left.  I feel that people are quite unable to understand the need for even some basic morals.  Without it, we have chaos and great evil where families can’t trust each other if members can get away with open murder.  I draw the line there.  Now, on to the Madoff killing fields:

 

Madoff’s wife pulled out $15 million before his arrest | Reuters

The wife of Bernard Madoff withdrew more than $15 million from an account linked to the accused swindler in the days before his arrest, Massachusetts authorities said on Wednesday, adding a new layer of intrigue into the probe of the purported $50 billion scam.

The news today is, the Madoffs are making a deal.  I want both Madoffs put in prison.  It is painfully obvious, they are both cons and should become convicts.  It is not normal for a hausfrau to go to major banks and pull out immense sums of loot!  It just doesn’t happen.  The Mafia used to try to keep the hausfraus out of their business.  Evidently, the Madoffs are more modern.  After all, Madoff’s mom did this sort of creepy business, too.

 

New Jersey – Daughter Of Disabled Man Blames Fathers Death on Madoff Scheme — VosIzNeias

New Jersey – A Union County man died three weeks after learning he had lost his entire savings to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The man’s daughter said her father, a quadriplegic, used to spend time calculating how many years he could live on the money he had saved….

“He used to go to a wound clinic for bedsores,” she told NJJN. “After he found out [about his financial losses], he wouldn’t go. Then he developed double pneumonia. He needed 24-hour care. It took at least $200,000 a year just to keep him alive.”

(His daughter asked that the family name not be used, since a relative runs a hedge fund and does not want his name associated with Madoff, even tangentially.) 

First, I find it rather funny that this family that is weeping about con men have members practicing the dark arts of running hedge funds.  I have a very bad feeling about hedge funds and think most of them are conduits for shady deals and they should be severely regulated as well as heavily taxed and the offshore pirate islands they use, closed down permanently.  But the other matter here is, bodies are rapidly piling up.  Suicides, swifter deaths, despair and fury are eating away at the hearts and minds of many who expected wealth to just fall out of trees and into their laps.

 

Below is an artful story of a lesser Madoff wanna-be who happened to operate in the exact same community Madoff ripped off.  Like Madoff, these con men used their positions of trust within the Orthodox Jewish community as a base of operations.  They drew in non-Jews but the whole scheme depended on many Jewish savers handing over the cash to these two crooks.

 

WexTrust Co-Founder Byers Is Jailed Over Alleged $9.2 Million Ponzi Scheme

 

(Bloomberg) — Steven Byers, the co-founder of real-estate investment firm WexTrust Capital LLC, was jailed yesterday on charges that he conspired to cheat investors out of $9.2 million.

Byers and Joseph Shereshevsky, also a WexTrust co-founder, were arrested in August and accused of cheating investors out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme. According to a November indictment, they used money raised from investors to fund the firm’s operations and repay earlier investors. Chicago-based WexTrust, a private-equity firm, specialized in real estate and investment banking, according to its Web site.

 

Like the Madoffs, they were allowed some freedom while waiting for the hammer to fall.  I hope they go to prison.  I hope more than one Madoff also goes to prison.  Of course, these guys were amateurs compared to Madoff.  As I looked for information about them, I found more and more clues as to how they operated and where they did their crimes:

 

Bloomberg.com: News

“One of the defendants used his extensive connections in the Orthodox Jewish community to solicit more than $250 million from unsuspecting investors,”Andrew Calamari, the SEC’s associate director of enforcement, said today in a statement. “Our complaint alleges an affinity fraud of very large scale.”

Worldly thoughts about Joseph Shereshevsky

Shereshevsky, the agency said, is a convicted felon who pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2003.

Steven Byers et al.: Lit. Rel. No. 20673 / August 11, 2008

U.S. Securities & Exchange CommissionU.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

 

Litigation Release No. 20678 / August 11, 2008

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Steven Byers, Joseph Shereshevsky (a/k/a Joseph Heller and “Josie”), Wextrust Capital, LLC, Wextrust Equity Partners, LLC, Wextrust Development Group, LLC, Wextrust Securities, LLC and Axela Hospitality, LLC, 08 Civ. 07104 (SWK) (S.D.N.Y.)

SEC Charges Defendants in $255 Million Ponzi-Type Scheme Involving Wextrust Capital, LLC and Other Wextrust Entities

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission today filed charges against Wextrust Capital, LLC (Wextrust), its principals, and four affiliated Wextrust entities, alleging that defendants conducted a massive Ponzi-type scheme from 2005 or earlier that raised approximately $255 million from approximately 1,200 investors. The targets of the fraudulent offerings are primarily members of the Orthodox Jewish community. Simultaneously with the filing of the action, the Commission is seeking emergency relief from the Court to freeze the defendants’ assets and place the Wextrust entities under the control of a receiver to safeguard assets. The Commission is also seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the ongoing offerings and other immediate relief….

Shereshevsky, age 51, is a resident of Norfolk, Va., and owns twenty percent of Wextrust through a partnership interest held in the name of his wife. Shereshevsky was, until recently, Wextrust’s Chief Operating Officer, was instrumental in founding Wextrust Securities, and was responsible for Wextrust’s expansion into purported diamond mining investments in Africa. Shershevsky pled guilty to one felony count of bank fraud in June 2003, U.S. v. Shereshevsky, 94 Cr. 248 (CSH).

 

OK: Shereshevsky wasn’t just some sober, honest person who just happened to fall into a Ponzi scheme.  He is a career criminal.  He already guilty of bank fraud two years before launching this Ponzi scheme?  Wow!  I happen to know the Orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn, NY.  This guy was not a total stranger to everyone.  It isn’t very hard, getting information about someone.  The criminal entanglements of various members of the group were noticed by everyone.  And then overlooked!  EXACTLY like the Mafia in Italian neighborhoods in Brooklyn!

 

Rudi Giuliani was supposed to be a law and order crusader, for example.  Giuliani’s Kerik Woes Resurface Through Informant – washingtonpost.com

That evidence, reviewed by The Washington Post, shows that Kerik brought Ray into contact with Giuliani on a handful of occasions documented in photos and that he invoked Giuliani’s name in connection with a New Jersey construction company with alleged mob ties that is now at the heart of the criminal cases.

While campaigning, Giuliani has sought to distance himself from Kerik, his mounting legal problems and associates such as Ray. Asked about Kerik and Ray during a recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said: “I made a mistake in not vetting [Kerik] carefully enough. And it’s my responsibility. I should have.”

This spring, Ray’s friend Sidney Baumgarten, a New York lawyer, told former deputy mayor and longtime Giuliani ally Ninfa Segarra that Ray was embroiled in a bitter divorce and an even worse custody dispute over his two daughters. Baumgarten said he told Segarra that Ray possessed “damaging” information about Giuliani but that he would not go public with his allegations if he could receive help with the mounting legal troubles. “That was the implied quid pro quo,” Baumgarten recalled in an interview with The Post, saying the conversation stemmed solely from his desire to help Ray’s children in the custody case.

 

This is just one example off the top of my head.  There are lots of similar examples one can find with all sorts of ethnic groups.  Immigrant groups tend to cluster together and support each other closely and close ranks against nosy investigations.  Con artists and criminals exploit this to the hilt.  

 

Now, I read articles about Joe Shereshevsky being a rabbi but after poking around, I found this:

 

Joseph Shereshevsky A Rabbi?

Joseph Shereshevsky was never a rabbi. Rabbi Chaim Shereshevsky was his father.

Using his father’s name, I found many more articles about Joe.  

 

The Rabbi, the Do-Gooder, The Lost $100 Million

Rabbi Chaim Silver of the B’nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk, Va., says members have called him often with a question about a congregant: “Can I trust Joseph Shereshevsky? I am planning to invest a lot of money with him.”

The rabbi assured them: “He is the kindest, most generous, trustworthy man.”

Rabbi Silver and a number of Orthodox Jews were shocked by Monday’s arrest of Mr. Shereshevsky and a business partner at WexTrust Capital, a Chicago-based private-equity firm. Federal prosecutors in New York charged them with raising more than $250 million through a Ponzi scheme — mainly from Orthodox Jews…

Mr. Shereshevsky is the son of a prominent rabbi named Chaim Shereshevsky, who is now deceased. Investors say they were disarmed by Mr. Shereshevsky’s faith, his endorsement by Rabbi Silver, and his reputation as a philanthropist. Mr. Shereshevsky supported medical research, schools, and made headlines by sending a private jet to Jamaica to rescue an Orthodox teen who said he was being abused at a reform school.

Using a network of mortgage brokers and salespeople, the firm also raised money from non-Jews. Tim Moore, a 39-year-old biomedical engineer in Virginia, borrowed against his home to invest $140,000 in WexTrust….

“He pays people’s mortgages, pays to keep loved ones in a nursing home,” Rabbi Silver says. “People trust him — and you do business with people you trust.”

A regular Robin Hood!  Steals from the rich and gives to the poor!  And himself, of course.  Just like Christian preachers are often tempted to fleece their own flocks or spawn con men who love to steal while pulling a sincere face, so it is here.  The rabbi may have been an honest, upright man.  But his son was a thief.  

 

Look at the queer story about sending a private jet to pick up a kid who didn’t like the discipline camp his parents put him in!  Wow.  I wonder what lies behind that story?  Anyway, it seemed to impress this very insular Orthodox community in Virginia.  Which ended up giving this guy the keys to their bank vaults.  Here is another twist in this story:

 

Norfolk, VA – Rabbi Chaim Silver Responds To Wall Street Journal For Using Incorrect Quotes — VosIzNeias

Editor of Wall Street Journal:

It is never pleasant to see your name in print in a negative connotation, especially in a publication as well regarded as the Wall Street Journal. It is even more disconcerting when the information in about you is wrong.

In the August 15 front-page article, The Rabbi, the Do-Gooder, The Lost $100 Million, the reporter gave readers the impression that I recommended to my congregants that they should feel comfortable investing with fellow congregant Joseph Shereshevsky of Wextrust Capital, now the subject of a federal fraud investigation. That is simply not the case. I told Mr. Shereshevsky himself and potential investors on a number of occasions that I do not give business advice since I have little expertise in that area. When asked by the WSJ why I thought people would invest with Mr. Shereshevsky, I said that I guess people trusted him and you invest with people you trust. I never called him “trustworthy” myself.

Our community is devastated by the charges against Mr. Shereshevsky and the unwanted publicity it has brought to our synagogue. We hope all persons of faith will pray for us as we deal with the damage this matter has caused, both for our congregation and for those who lost money.

 

Sincerely

Rabbi Chaim Silver

B’nai Israel Congregation

Norfolk, VA

The Rabbi got lots of goodies from Joe just like the entire complex of Jewish philanthropy had immense amount of money pour into their coffers illicitly via Madoff’s generosity and magic con artist tricks.  They had so much money to spend and it always came in, without a hitch, in good times and in bad times!   Why question this miracle?  I am pretty sure Rabbi Silver praised Joe for being a great man, a genius or some such.  Now, of course, it is time to disassociate and pretend, they were not close buddies at all.  But there is more:

 

Little outcry heard from alleged victims of pyramid scheme | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com

Investor Joseph Shereshevsky’s fellow Orthodox Jews are the principal victims he allegedly defrauded in a multimillion-dollar pyramid scheme, prosecutors say.

But there’s little public outcry coming from his synagogue, B’nai Israel Congregation, and Jewish law may be part of the reason.

At the first Saturday service after Shereshevsky’s Aug. 11 arrest, Rabbi Chaim Silver reminded members that Judaism forbids gossip, also known as “lashon hara,” or evil speech….

In South Hampton Roads’ small Orthodox community, he became known in recent years as a generous donor to B’nai Israel, charities and the Orthodox day school that was launched in 2002. Known as the Rabbi Chaim Shereshevsky Institute of Mesorah Learning, the school is named for Shereshevsky’s father. Directors of the school did not return calls. The silences may reflect not only the ban on gossip but a Jewish custom that frowns on being a “moser,” or informant, said Samuel Heilman. A sociologist at City University of New York, Heilman writes about American Judaism and Orthodox Jews…. Rabbi Lawrence Forman, a longtime Reform clergyman in Norfolk, said he was not close to the Orthodox but was nonetheless outraged as a Jew by Shereshevsky’s alleged crimes. “He’s forcing a bad name on the community,” Forman said. “It starts with his fellow Orthodox and extends to anybody who calls himself Jewish.”

Note how Rabbi Silver, instead of crying against this havoc [medieval word for ‘pillaging’], the good rabbi counsels silence and closing ranks to outsiders [investigators and reporters] which is classic ‘omerta’ [Italian code of silence]. ‘Evil speech’ prohibitions are ridiculous when it is used to conceal criminals from observation.  The fears that this will wreck the Jewish community, if they put their criminals under a microscope, is dead wrong.

 

People assume the worst when they encounter an ethnic or religious minority and that minority won’t expose and punish criminals hiding within the community.  How couldn’t Rabbi Silver not know that Joe was already a convicted con man?  The government knew!  They took this viper to their hearts and refused to listen to outsiders and got ripped off.  Repudiating Madoff and Shereshevsky is just the beginning of the process of flushing out an army of con artists who took outrageous advantage of this immigrant minority’s paranoia and exclusionary social systems. 

 

Also, as a last note: the goy who put his house into hock to play the markets with these crooks was the victim of a fraud aside from this con job.  I argued at Market Watch and other mainstream news sites against using house mortgages to play the markets.  This is leveraged betting and if you lose the bet, you lose your home!  Argh!  Talk about stupid!  One writer huffily told me, the returns on these bets were bigger than the monthly interest payments for a mortgage which are tax-deductible.  I said, ‘So what?  The risks are too great if the returns turn into losses.’ 

 

Please don’t try to leverage bets so you get double for nothing. This is what the hedge funds did, the biggest bankers did and they lost their bets and the Derivatives Beast is now collecting his winnings.  And that is by far, the biggest con game going.  The one that should be eliminated, forever!

 

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6 responses to “ALL IN THE FAMILY XIII: SIMILAR PONZI FRAUDS

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