By Ron Kampeas
A judge sentenced the rabbi who lost a finger in the 2019 antisemitic shooting attack in Poway, California, to 14 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme.
The sentencing Tuesday was unusual because the prosecution and the defense agreed that Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein should receive only home confinement.
“You not only committed this offense yourself but you took a lot of people with you,” US District Court Judge Cynthia Bashant told Goldstein, the San Diego Times-Union reported.
“I think it’s important to send a message to the community, and I think it’s important to send a message to you,” she said.
Goldstein, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud in 2020, and his co-conspirators must also pay $2.8 million in restitution.
Under the scheme, which federal agents were investigating long before the April 2019 shooting attack that claimed the life of one congregant, donors contributed to Goldstein’s synagogue but then got most of the money back, enabling the donor to claim a tax deduction.
Goldstein retired from the Chabad synagogue in November, seven months after confronting a gunman who entered his synagogue on April 27, 2019, the last day of Passover.
Chabad headquarters in New York had condemned Goldstein and moved to relieve him of his duties after it learned he was under investigation.
Last week, the man who killed a woman and wounded three others in the 2019 attack was sentenced to a second life sentence in federal court.