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Synagogue Apologizes For Calling Convicted Ponzi Schemer To The Torah

A British man was honored with a call to the Torah on Shabbat — after he was arrested on fraud charges and two days before he was convicted for his Ponzi scheme, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

Freddy David embezzled nearly $17 million from 55 people, most of whom were Jewish. He used his standing within the community to scam his victims, selling them fake investments as the managing director at wealth management company. He then used the money to fund his lavish lifestyle and gambling addiction, according to the Chronicle. He swindled between $23,000 and $875,000 from his “clients,” many of whom are elderly.

After David was arrested, the chairman of the Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue, Simon Mitchell, apologized for honoring him.

“Mr David should not have been called up,” Mitchell said. “Although there was guidance in place by the honorary officers this perhaps should have been clearer. There was absolutely no malicious intent on the part of those involved and this call up does not reflect BES policy.”

BES’s rabbi, Chaim Kanterovitz, also sent a letter of regret to his “beloved community,” in which he claimed he did “not know all the facts.”

“I truly and sincerely hope that I have not added additional hurt to any of the victims,” Kanterovitz said, “and if I did I seek their mechila [forgiveness].”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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