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Dina Wein Reis’s Downfall

In this picture, Dina Wein Reis looks every bit the modern frum woman — modest but modern, and very cute with her hair tucked up into that newsboy cap.

But she is far from a woman of valor, the traditional view of the ideal Jewish woman as one who is capable, industrious and righteous. Wein Reis, according to this new investigative story in Fortune magazine, details her downfall from a decades-long fraud.

It was a steep climb up from her start as a yeshiva girl in Midwood, Brooklyn, daughter of a public school teacher and clothing salesman. After graduating from B’nos Leah Prospect Park Yeshiva, Wein attended (but never graduated from) Brooklyn College, where she met a former soccer star and Colombia native named David Ruiz.

Ruiz converted to Judaism, the pair married and Judaized his last name to Reis.

He has, reportedly, been a stay-at-home father to their three children, and, according to Fortune, they have homes in Manhattan, Westhampton Beach, Bal Harbor and Jerusalem.

Before being arrested last October, Wein Reis was allegedly scamming executives from many of the country’s leading corporations, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Toms of Maine, into giving her enormous numbers of free products, which she then sold on the gray market, to distributors and retailers, reaping millions of dollars in the process.

According to the story, by James Bandler and Doris Burke,

what she is accused of doing was fabulously brazen; she had the temerity to sting some of the world’s biggest corporations—not just once, but again and again. Her targets were middle- and upper-level marketing executives, including division heads and presidents. It was a simple scheme, though brilliantly choreographed.

Wein Reis is currently out on $10 million bail, indicted on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud. If convicted on both charges, she faces up to 40 years and fined $500,000, according to the indictment, which has been compiled with other pertinent court documents and is being sold on Amazon for about $10.

This story provides a strange relief from the recent embarrassments of Haredi rabbis and Bernie Madoff who have recently been plastered all over the front pages.

The rabbis, in the first case, suffer from a kind of religious arrogance and hubris that bilking the government and non-Jews was somehow acceptable, and Madoff, in the latter case, directly destroyed the financial lives of many individuals and non-profits.

There is another element to Wein Reis’ story, one which provides a shiver of schadenfreude. After all, it was corporations that were bilked (yes, in the big picture I know it costs we individual tax payers, when big companies are bilked, but it’s not the same as individuals being defrauded of their hard-earned millions).

And it’s not every day that we read about a woman, and a religious one at that, using cleverness and chutzpah to pull this off as long as she did — even if she is no woman of valor.

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