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A San Diego attorney on Wednesday became the 11th person to admit in federal court to participating in a tax fraud scheme run by former Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.

Elliot Adler, a founding partner of Adler Law Group, a civil litigation boutique law firm, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, admitting to lowering his tax liability by about $500,000 from 2011 to 2107.

Adler, 45, was one of at least a dozen who sheltered some of their earnings in Goldstein’s “90/10″ scheme. He would give money to Goldstein as a purported donation for Chabad of Poway. But Goldstein instead pocketed 10 percent of the money for himself and secretly returned 90 percent of it — much of it in gold, in this case.

The two used coded language derived from Jewish faith and culture to communicate the conspiracy, referring to money as “challah” — a traditional bread — and their fiscal exchanges as wrapping “tefillin” — small leather boxes worn on arms to hold Torah verses — the plea agreement states.

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For example, in December 2017, Goldstein deposited two checks from Adler, for $180,000 and $980,000, according to the plea agreement. A few days later, Goldstein wired about $1 million to a jeweler to buy 738 gold ingots and gold coins.

A week later, Goldstein sent Adler a message asking when he can come in for a tefillin wrap. “I’m ready for you,” the rabbi said. Goldstein delivered the gold the next day.

On his 2017 tax return, Adler indicated he had donated more than $1 million to charity, therefore fraudulently reducing his tax liability.

Adler returned the gold coins to Goldstein in October 2018 after Goldstein told him there was an IRS investigation and that Goldstein needed help proving that he was in possession of the gold, not Adler, the plea states.

Adler’s conduct was outlined in Goldstein’s own plea agreement in 2020. Goldstein is serving a 14-month prison term.

Besides the 11 guilty pleas, including Adler and Goldstein, two other participants accepted deferred prosecution agreements.

Adler is tentatively set to be sentenced in July. He has already agreed to pay more than $1 million in restitution to the IRS, an amount that includes back taxes, fraud penalties and interest.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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