Because of ‘selfless life,’ rabbi convicted of money laundering sentenced to less jail time
A rabbi from New Jersey, United States was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years of probation after being found guilty of laundering $200,000 (P10.3 million) from a school for children with disabilities.
Last February, Osher Eisemann, 62, was found guilty of money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official. The money was taken from the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI) which he founded, the Ashbury Park Press reported on Monday.
The state had requested for a 12-year sentence, as per The Lakewood Scoop on Monday, April 29. However, Judge Benjamin Bucca said, “This court cannot ignore the goodwill the defendant has earned making a career of serving special needs students.”
He said that Eisemann’s “selfless life is very clear. In many respects this is a very, very unfortunate situation.” He noted too that evidence against Eisemann was “slim.”
In 2017, Eisemann was indicted on charges of theft, money laundering, corporate misconduct and misuse of government funds.
He was found guilty by the jury of moving school funds worth $200,000 through private accounts and back to the school to make it seem that he used personal funds to pay his debts to the school. The money was repaid in 12 days.
Eisemann is a rabbi and has his own adult child with special needs whom he and his wife care for. The school he created was inspired by his son and serves hundreds of children with special needs.
His supporters rallied behind him during the court session on Monday with over 75 people in the room, reported the Ashbury Park Press.
More than three dozen character letters were sent to the judge, with many detailing how he helped students. Judge Bucca said, “The character letters were overwhelming. In all my years, I have never seen such support.”
Several people were in tears during the proceedings. Eisemann’s own lawyer, Lee Vartan, choked up as he read a character letter that he wrote himself, the first he has done for a client. He said that his client was so dedicated to his work with SCHI that he would cancel meetings with him to attend to school matters.
A man interrupted Vartan to recount that Eisemann saved his daughter after she fell from the second floor.
The judge denied the motion by Eisemann’s attorneys to dismiss the two counts he was convicted on by the jury. Eisemann can no longer handle finances at the school and must pay a fine of $250,000.
However, Bucca believes that the rabbi “belongs” in the school and hopes he could be given another chance by the Department of Education. He noted that it was unlikely that Eisemann would repeat the crime.
Eisemann has maintained his innocence, as per report, and his lawyers may appeal. Niña V. Guno/JB
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