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Trenton, NJ - Court: Lakewood Man Can't Withdraw Guilty Plea In Real Estate Scheme

Published on: August 14, 2016 01:36 PM
By: AP
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FILE - Developer Eli Weinstein is led by the FBI from his Lakewood home after being arrested Aug 12 2010. Weinstein was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Feb. 25, 2014 for running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors 200 million. (Photo courtesy to VINnews.com by the Star-Ledger at NJ.com) FILE - Developer Eli Weinstein is led by the FBI from his Lakewood home after being arrested Aug 12 2010. Weinstein was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Feb. 25, 2014 for running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors 200 million. (Photo courtesy to VINnews.com by the Star-Ledger at NJ.com)

Trenton, NJ - A New Jersey man serving a lengthy prison term for running a $200 million Ponzi-style real estate scheme has lost his bid to withdraw his guilty plea and have charges he admitted to in another case dismissed.

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Eliyahu Weinstein had argued that the federal judge who oversaw the latter case — in which Weinstein admitted defrauding investors in connection with a Facebook initial public offering — was “tainted” because he oversaw the plea deal in the real estate scheme case.

Weinstein also claimed his lawyer had a conflict of interest because he had advised investors in the Facebook IPO case, which put him at risk of prosecution. Weinstein also argued that the Facebook case amounted to double jeopardy.

But a three-judge panel with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his claims in rulings issued Friday.

The panel found the judge’s participation in the real estate scheme plea deal was extremely limited. They also found any claims to the contrary were “unsubstantiated hearsay.”

The judges also found that any interactions Weinstein’s lawyer had with investment customers was based on his belief that the money would be properly invested, not kept by Weinstein. That meant the lawyer would not have faced prosecution and was able to represent Weinstein in the case.

In his double jeopardy claim, Weinstein asserted that prosecutors had split the overall case into two cases so they could tack on more prison time. The judges, though, said the Facebook case involved “different victims in different locations, different time periods, different co-conspirators, and different schemes.”

Weinstein received a 22-year term in 2014 for the real estate scheme. He pleaded guilty in the Facebook case a few months later and was sentenced to more than 11 years in that matter.

However, the judge in the latter case ruled that the bulk of that sentence would run concurrently with the real estate scheme term, with just two years of the Facebook sentence having to be served consecutively.



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Read Comments (12)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 14, 2016 at 03:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Let him bunk with Shelly. Like minds

2

 Aug 14, 2016 at 09:54 PM Normal Says:

Fellas, don't do the crime because you will probably have to do the time. And then don't start whinging about how unfair it is.

3

 Aug 14, 2016 at 10:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Let him bunk with Shelly. Like minds

In response to comment #1: Apparently you are ignorant of the facts. Rabbi Yisroel Belsky supported Weinstein. He insisted he was the real victim and should never plead guilty. Rabbi Belsky said he knew the facts and that he was not crazy.

4

 Aug 14, 2016 at 10:17 PM Applestein Says:

chillul Hashem

5

 Aug 15, 2016 at 12:06 AM davidoff Says:

It is very unfortunate that this discussion comes up when the headline has the word orthodox in it, but the real issue is that criminal justice needs reform, since the excessive jail terms are given left and right for non violent crimes and it reaches unprecedented proportions with every new case, jewish people in particular do not have a chance at all, now someone will respond to this comment saying all nice things about jury of your peers bla bla, don't lie to yourself, we are not a preferred class of people and have a huge disadvantage when being judged by any jury, convictions are almost 100% and prosecutors know that, therefore, even when people have not committed anything close to what they are being accused of, they tend to choose to take a plea instead of going in front of a jury, ask any criminal attorney who has ever advised an indicted Jewish person in the USA, to sum it up, we never have a day in court, criminal justice needs reform

6

 Aug 15, 2016 at 05:45 AM excuse me???? Says:

He is guilty as sin!! He robbed my family millions $!!!! "Sold" real estate that never existed. How could he be innocent???

7

 Aug 15, 2016 at 09:46 AM shimonyehuda Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

In response to comment #1: Apparently you are ignorant of the facts. Rabbi Yisroel Belsky supported Weinstein. He insisted he was the real victim and should never plead guilty. Rabbi Belsky said he knew the facts and that he was not crazy.

just because Rabbi Belsky supported him does not make him innocent.

8

 Aug 15, 2016 at 11:25 AM Danniel Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

In response to comment #1: Apparently you are ignorant of the facts. Rabbi Yisroel Belsky supported Weinstein. He insisted he was the real victim and should never plead guilty. Rabbi Belsky said he knew the facts and that he was not crazy.

In response to comment 3, ignorant of the facts?! Lol Really? So how about you start laying out the facts??? I know of two people that invested millions of dollars by him and he screwd them both big time. So don't come spewing your nonsense here...

9

 Aug 15, 2016 at 03:03 PM ChachoMoe Says:

Reply to #5  
davidoff Says:

It is very unfortunate that this discussion comes up when the headline has the word orthodox in it, but the real issue is that criminal justice needs reform, since the excessive jail terms are given left and right for non violent crimes and it reaches unprecedented proportions with every new case, jewish people in particular do not have a chance at all, now someone will respond to this comment saying all nice things about jury of your peers bla bla, don't lie to yourself, we are not a preferred class of people and have a huge disadvantage when being judged by any jury, convictions are almost 100% and prosecutors know that, therefore, even when people have not committed anything close to what they are being accused of, they tend to choose to take a plea instead of going in front of a jury, ask any criminal attorney who has ever advised an indicted Jewish person in the USA, to sum it up, we never have a day in court, criminal justice needs reform

Good point! Most comments are confusing the issues.
The issue is not whether he should do time, rather, if the time is way too much for the crime, and on that it is indeed insane! America is the only democracy that has such sever sentences for white-collar crime. The court will basically issue a death sentence in a compilation of diff times and crimes one had committed in process of act of crime.

10

 Aug 15, 2016 at 03:21 PM #3 not true at all Says:

rav belsky never said he wasnt guilty i work for rav belsky beisdin. rav belsky felt terrible for his poor parents, wife & kids wonderful ppl. and was trying to see if anything could be done " as far as damage control" . he was stunned by the proportions of this case and how many yiddin got messed up.

11

 Aug 15, 2016 at 03:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
#3 not true at all Says:

rav belsky never said he wasnt guilty i work for rav belsky beisdin. rav belsky felt terrible for his poor parents, wife & kids wonderful ppl. and was trying to see if anything could be done " as far as damage control" . he was stunned by the proportions of this case and how many yiddin got messed up.

Thank you for shedding some truth on the issue.

12

 Aug 15, 2016 at 09:35 PM InsideOne Says:

Those who would shorten his sentence because he has a wife and children have misplaced rachmonus. If you care about them, find ways to support them. But don't look for ways to get this guy out - he's a financial predator who has been pulling this stuff since he was a teenager. When he gets out he will surely victimize others.

13

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