Michael Greenfeld – also known as Michael Ben-Ari – was extradited back to Israel early Sunday morning from Bosnia. Greenfeld is accused on operating what local authorities have described as the biggest Ponzi scheme in Israel’s history, defrauding people out of $150 million.
Yes, even Israel has Ponzi schemers and people who commit fraud on a large scale. And yes, other countries around the world have no love for such people and will send them back to where they came when caught. So, what exactly did Michael Greenfeld do.
Israeli authorities arrested and charged Michael Greenfeld back in April of 2021 for violating the Israeli Joint Investment Trust Law, Regulation of Investment Advice, Investment Marketing and Portfolio Management Law, the Penal law and Money laundering charges. This is a large scale Ponzi scheme that was uncovered by the Israel Securities Authority (ISA). He was placed under house arrest after posting a 2 million NIS bail. However, Greenfeld then fled the country by traveling under someone else’s passport.
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The scam was said to have been perpetrated over a 15 year period through the firm EGFE. Like with all Ponzi schemes, Michael Greenfeld conned investors into believing that they were earning a profit and so convinced them to invest more and not cash out. But the profits were imaginary and the money invested was largely spent by the perpetrators.
OK, so this is not on the level of a Bernie Madoff type of fraud. But it is still very big. The American authorities already agreed to assist the Isa in its attempts to recoup the investors’ lost funds. But even if the deposits made by the victims of the scheme can be recovered the investors will still have lost a great deal as far as what could have been earned through legitimate investments.