11 April 2002 - Bruce L. Castor, Jr., District Attorney of Montgomery County, Patrick L. Meehan, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Jerome D. Lisuzzo, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, T.J. Harrington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Oscar P. Vance, Jr., Chief County Detective of Montgomery County, today announced that a federal grand jury indicted two defendants for the theft of over $1.2 million from Temple Sinai, a synagogue located in Dresher, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

The indictment alleges that Barry Wilf, who was the temple's executive director from 1981 until 2000, and Betty Shusterman, who was the temple's bookkeeper from 1963 until 2000, engaged in a scheme between 1993 and 2000 to defraud their employer. The indictment states that Wilf and Shusterman took and divided over $1.2 million, representing approximately 10% of Temple Sinai's intended operating budget during the course of the conspiracy.

The indictment alleges that Wilf and Shusterman took funds from the temple in four primary ways:

1. Wilf took donation and other checks sent to Temple Sinai. Instead of depositing the funds into Temple Sinai accounts as intended by the payors, he deposited them in a separate and unauthorized account he created at Harleysville National Bank. The account was named "Temple Sinai Breakfast Club." Wilf took 738 checks, totaling $202,188.37, sent to the temple by hundreds of donors and other entities.

2. Wilf and Shusterman wrote 123 unauthorized checks from Temple Sinai's main operating accounts at Harleysville National Bank and Summit Bank. Most of these checks contained forged signatures of temple officers. Wilf and Shusterman deposited these checks, totaling $497,583.28, in the Breakfast Club account.

In total, between 1993 and 2000, the defendants deposited $699,771.65 in the Breakfast Club account. Wilf then withdrew the stolen money, mostly in cash, of which he gave part to Shusterman. They also used $55,252.75 of the money to pay the charges for ten cellular phones used by Wilf and Shusterman and members of their families.

3. Wilf and Shusterman took additional money from the temple's operating accounts by writing 1,061 checks to various vendors, totaling $464,815.01. These checks were not given to the vendors; instead, Wilf cashed the checks and kept the money, of which he gave part to Shusterman.

4. Wilf and Shusterman took excess retirement contributions, by writing Temple Sinai checks to financial institutions at which each held retirement accounts. Between 1995 and 1999, Wilf and Shusterman wrote excess checks which were deposited in their 401(k) accounts. In this manner, Shusterman allegedly stole over $50,000 and Wilf took over $13,000.

In addition, the indictment charges that the defendants did not pay income tax on any of their illicit gains.

The defendants are charged in the 56-count indictment with violation of federal statutes prohibiting conspiracy, bank fraud, mail fraud, tax evasion, and making false statements on tax returns. The indictment is an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 1,095 years imprisonment.



AGE [Date of Birth]

 Barry Wilf

108 Franklin Court
North Wales, PA 19454


Betty Shusterman

24 Kanon Court
Newtown, PA 18940

The indictment is the result of a joint investigation conducted by state and federal authorities. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert A. Zauzmer and by Assistant District Attorney Laurel F. Grass. Grass, who is the Chief of the Economic Crime Unit of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, has been designated a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the prosecution of this case.

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*An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.