Queens Rabbi Igal Haimoff Sought to Disguise the Extorted Funds as a Charitable Donation
Queens Rabbi Igal Haimoff and accomplice Mark Weissman stand accused of engaging in a scheme to extort $7 million plot. They allegedly extorted money from an individual in exchange for not providing purportedly incriminating information to law enforcement authorities.
United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue:
As alleged, Haimoff and Weissman attempted to characterize the millions of dollars they expected to receive from their extortion threat as a charitable donation. This Office will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who seek to hide their criminal conduct behind the cloak of a charity.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney also stated:
Charity of all kinds, especially related to children, is esteemed to be noble, honest, and true. By allegedly attempting to extort and blackmail this victim in the name of charity, Haimoff and Weissman gravely undermined these values.
Queens Rabbi Igal Haimoff and Mark Weissman Make Up A Dirty Pair Of Extortionists
Weissman allegedly pressured the victim to pay $6 million last year. He told him that another individual would provide incriminating information to authorities if he didn’t.
Weissman enlisted Rabbi Haimoff. Haimoff controlled a charity that could disguise the funds as a donation.
The Queens Rabbi sent a fraudulent charitable donation letter to the individual they believed would be sending the extorted funds from overseas. The letter, on the charity’s letterhead from Haimoff, stated:
Thank you so much for your pledge of $6,000,000 towards our building campaign. Your generous donation will enable us to complete the construction of our Yeshiva building which is so vital for the continued growth of our Queens community. It is the generosity of donors such as yourself that provide us with the strength and ability to continue being there for the community. Thank you for being our partner in this most important endeavor. For your convenience, you can fire (sic) the funds to our bank account as follows [bank account details].
Haimoff was actually communicating with an undercover FBI agent.
Haimoff later indicated that the person with the information now demanded $7 million. The victim indicated he would pay the money.
Haimoff and the undercover FBI agent exchanged the following emails several weeks ago:
Undercover FBI Agent:
Dear Rabbi Haimoff, I have learned that there is additional structural work required for the construction of the Yeshiva building for the Charity. As such I would like to increase my pledge from $6,000,000 to $7,000,000 to assist you with the project…Kind regards…
…Thank you very much … that you doing with our yeshiva because of your good heart open hart (sic) for mitzvahs we will be able to expand our bldg to the maximum capacity now we don’t have any more space for new kid’s (sic) to come after the construction will be done we will be able to double the amount of children!!…thank you so much. Rabbi Haimoff.