NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey man who federal prosecutors say operated a real-estate investment scheme that defrauded investors of at least $200 million was arrested yesterday morning at his Lakewood home on charges of bank fraud and wire fraud.
A federal judge in Newark ordered Eliyahu Weinstein detained pending a bail hearing scheduled for Tuesday. Weinstein's attorney, Ephraim Savitt, had sought his client's release, disputing claims that he was a flight risk.
Weinstein never owned many properties he claimed were his, and sold his fake and real interests multiple times using forged deeds and other bogus documents, prosecutors said. They also claimed that he played off his connections to the Orthodox Jewish community, exploiting its customs and business practices to bilk victims.
Also named in the federal complaint is Vladimir Sifovrov, of Manalapan, who is charged with wire fraud. He remained at large late yesterday afternoon.
During the court hearing, assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Coyne asked Judge Esther Salas to detain Weinstein, noting that he faces 50 years in prison if convicted on both charges. He called Weinstein a flight risk, citing his frequent trips to Israel, Poland and Ukraine, and said that "the weight of evidence against him is nothing short of overwhelming."
Savitt cited his client's local ties in disputing the flight risk allegations.
"His only home is in New Jersey with his wife and his six very young children," Savitt told the judge.