Jewish Journal


May 2, 2012

Israeli businessman sentenced to 22 years for fraud


An Israeli businessman convicted of a $30 million investment fraud was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

The U.S. District Court in San Francisco also ordered Samuel Cohen, 53, to repay the millions he had stolen. Cohen was convicted last November on charges of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

His scheme caused the collapse of the Vanguard Public Foundation, a charity with ties to actors Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte.

Cohen reportedly told investors that his company, Ecast, which provided digital music, games and interactive ads to bars and nightclubs, was about to be acquired by Microsoft Corp. The scheme was discovered in 2008.

He gave some of his money to Jewish charitable funds including the European Center for Jewish Students; a Jewish orphanage in Odessa; the tomb of the second Lubavitcher rebbe in Ukraine; and to build a museum in Hebron to preserve Chabad history.

Cohen’s attorneys said they would appeal the conviction.

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