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Leader Of Jewish Town Faces Trial In Landmark Municipal Financing Scandal

The leader of a heavily Jewish New York suburb faces trial on Wednesday in a landmark securities fraud case involving municipal bonds — a scandal that already felled a prominent Orthodox leader.

Christopher St. Lawrence, the elected supervisor of Ramapo, New York, has been charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors say he defrauded investors who helped finance a controversial minor league baseball stadium.

Jury selection is set to begin before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains, New York federal court on Wednesday morning.

New York federal prosecutors charged St. Lawrence in April 2016 along with Aaron Troodler, former executive director of the town-owned Ramapo Local Development Corp.

Troodler pleaded guilty last month under an agreement with prosecutors. He is a prominent Jewish leader and led a group pushing for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

The case followed U.S. regulators’ push in recent years to bring civil actions those accused of misconduct in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market.

Prosecutors said Ramapo and the development corporation sold more than $150 million of bonds while Troodler and St. Lawrence concealed the town’s deteriorating finances.—Reuters

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