Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud Involving Fraudulent Chabad of Poway Donations

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An Escondido man who pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return as part of a donation fraud scheme involving former Chabad of Poway rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was sentenced Monday to eight months in custody.

Stuart Weinstock, 64, pleaded guilty earlier this year to making fraudulent donations to the Chabad of Poway over an eight-year span.

Prosecutors say about 75% of the money he claimed he donated was returned to him, allowing Weinstock, the former owner of Salsa Market in Vista, to evade around $180,000 in taxes.

NBC 7 Investigates reporter Mari Payton breaks down the case against the former rabbi.

Between 2010 and 2018, Weinstock gave the rabbi at least $872,815 in checks, which were described as "contributions,'' "donations,'' or "business expenses,'' prosecutors said.

Goldstein returned $654,611 to the defendant, often providing the money in cash to Weinstock while meeting him in person at his home or business -- minus a 25% cut for Goldstein. Weinstock then claimed on his tax returns that the full donation amounts were made to the Chabad as tax-deductible donations or business expenses.

The case against Weinstock mirrored others made against co-defendants whose donations to the Chabad and other affiliated organizations were funneled back to them, though prosecutors have said other defendants received as much as 90% of their donations back.

Goldstein pleaded guilty last year to fraud charges in connection with the case, but has yet to be sentenced.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that once Goldstein was arrested in 2018, one of the rabbi's acquaintances contacted Weinstock to warn him against accepting any envelopes in the future, cautioning him that Goldstein might be cooperating with law enforcement.

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