You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 14, 2022

Brother of Former Chabad of Poway Rabbi Goldstein Sentenced For Tax Fraud Scheme

Assistant U. S. Attorneys Michelle L. Wasserman (619) 546-8431 and Valerie Chu (619) 546-6750

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – March 11, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Mendel Goldstein, brother of former Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, was sentenced in federal court today to 8 months custody and a $5,500 fine for his participation in a years-long scheme with his brother to evade taxes.  He was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $164,475.82. While imposing the sentence, District Court Judge Cynthia Bashant stated, “It’s important to send a message . . . people need to know, this is what happens when you commit tax fraud.” 

According to his plea agreement, Mendel Goldstein concealed the entirety of his income for at least six years by funneling the income from his successful videography business through Chabad of Poway bank accounts that were controlled by his brother, Rabbi Goldstein.  In return, Rabbi Goldstein took a ten percent cut of Mendel Goldstein’s income.

Mendel Goldstein was able to access his funds by writing checks to himself from the Chabad of Poway bank account that concealed the true recipient of the money, instead addressing checks to fictitious people including “Mr. Green,” “Mr. Gold,” or “Mr. Fish,” or simply making the checks out to “CASH.”  Between April 2012 and August 2018, Mendel Goldstein concealed over $700,000 in income from the IRS, evading over $150,000 in taxes. 

Rabbi Goldstein alerted Mendel Goldstein to the investigation around December 2018 and encouraged Mendel Goldstein to conceal his tax evasion by filing delinquent tax returns.   

In July 2020, Rabbi Goldstein pleaded guilty to fraud charges, admitting that he participated in a complex, years-long, multi-million-dollar tax-evasion scheme and other financial deceptions involving theft of public money.  Rabbi Goldstein’s plea agreement outlined the fraud scheme with Mendel Goldstein.

“Our community should not tolerate tax fraud, and offenders will continue to be prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. Grossman thanked the prosecution team and FBI and IRS agents for their excellent work on this case.

“For years, Mendel Goldstein worked with his brother, Yisroel - then the director of the Chabad of Poway - to orchestrate a financial scheme to hide more than $700,000 of his own income from being taxed,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “The FBI has no tolerance for those who abuse the tax-exempt status of religious organizations for their own financial gain. We are proud to work alongside our federal partners at IRS - Criminal Investigation to uncover various forms of financial fraud and I would like to thank them for their ongoing partnership in this case.”

“Instead of paying his fair share, Mr. Mendel Goldstein used his relationship and the exploitation of a religious organization’s special non-profit status to divert his income, conceal his earnings and evade paying his taxes,” said Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Today’s sentencing and this investigation demonstrate our commitment to hold accountable those who shirk their tax obligations by corrupting our nation’s tax laws for their own  personal gain.”

SUMMARY OF CHARGES                        Case Number 20CR-2772-BAS

Mendel Goldstein                                                      Age:64             Brooklyn NY

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison

PREVIOUSLY CHARGED DEFENDANTS AND SUMMARY OF CHARGES                     

Yisroel Goldstein, Case Number 20CR1916-BAS             Age: 58            Poway

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison

Alexander Avergoon, Case Number 19CR2955-BAS       Age: 44            San Diego                  

Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 1343

Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison

Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, USC 1028A

Maximum Penalty: Two years minimum consecutive term in prison

Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, USC 1956(a)(1)(B)(i)

Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison

Bruce Baker, Case Number 20CR1912-BAS                     Age: 74            La Jolla

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and file false tax returns, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison

Bijan Moossazadeh, Case Number 20CR1893-BAS          Age: 63            San Diego

Filing a False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, USC 7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Yousef Shemirani, Case Number 20CR1895-BAS            Age: 74            Poway

Filing a False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, USC 7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Boris Shkoller, Case Number 20CR1913-BAS                  Age: 83            Del Mar

Filing a False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, USC 7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Stuart Weinstock, Case Number 21CR0042-BAS             Age:    64            Escondido, CA

Filing False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, U.S.C. §7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Jason Ellis, Case Number 21CR2200-BAS             Age: 42            Poway, CA

Filing False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, U.S.C. §7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Yehuda Hadjadj, Case Number 22CR148-BAS    Age: 47           La Jolla, CA

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison

Rotem Cooper, Case Number 20CR3968-BAS                  Age:    54            San Diego      

Deferred Prosecution Agreement

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Igor Shtilkind, Case Number 20CR3955-BAS                   Age:    55            San Diego

Deferred Prosecution Agreement

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Internal Revenue Service

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
CAS22-0311-Mendel
Updated March 14, 2022