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Israeli-American fraudsters swindled tens of millions from IRS, say Israeli cops

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Seven Israelis and Americans embezzled tens of millions of dollars from the IRS and ferreted it to Israel, authorities say.

The alleged ringleader is Marvin Berkowitz, 62, described in reports as a felon who fled the U.S. to Israel several years ago and holds dual American/Israeli citizenship.

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Israel's National Fraud Unit swooped in on offices today and busted the seven Israelis and Americans Monday. Arrests in the U.S. in the phony-tax-return scheme are expected to follow after this undercover operation, dubbed "American Pie."

The Jerusalem Post says the alleged goniffs "obtained the personal data of American prisoners, posed as them and appealed to the American tax authorities for tax refunds due from the period prior to their incarceration." We're talking about a slew of prisoners.

Just a couple of weeks ago, in a separate case, the U.S. demanded extradition of 11 Israelis accused of defrauding elderly Americans out of millions of dollars, the Israeli news site Ynet notes.

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Then you've got the massive New Jersey money-laundering and corruption scheme in which politicians and rabbis were arrested this summer after a rabbi's son dropped a dime on them. Oy.


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Ward Harkavy is currently Senior Editor at the Village Voice, for which he writes The Smart Asset.

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