The Real Deal New York

Rabbi Pinto, spiritual leader to real estate VIPs, arrested, interrogated for bribery

October 11, 2012 10:49PM

  • Print

Rabbi Pinto

Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto — a spiritual leader with well-established ties to New York’s real estate community — was arrested Thursday in Israel, and is being investigated for money laundering and attempting to bribe law enforcement, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. His wife, Debora Rivka Pinto, was also arrested, according to the report. The couple has been released, and is on house arrest.

A lawyer for the Pintos called the allegations “baseless,” Haaretz reported.

Pinto, 39, is said to be a religious advisor to a bevy of local real estate VIPs. The developer Haim Binstock and the Sapir Organization’s Zina Sapir are reported to be followers of the rabbi, and the developer Ben Zion Suky — named in an Upper East Side  foreclosure suit earlier this year involving Pinto’s wife — is a close aide to Pinto. Other industry figures, such as Douglas Elliman’s Mickey Roth, are reported to have consulted with Pinto on business matters.

The religious leader has been planning to build a synagogue on the ground floor of Heritage at Trump Place, located at 240 Riverside Boulevard. Ilan Bracha, a Keller Williams broker and the founder of the Bracha Group there, and Binstock, had purchased the place and had planned to turn it over to the rabbi. Last year, Binstock’s wife was reported to have written $56,000 check to save the 2,700-square-foot space from foreclosure.

Developers Serge Hoyda and Yair Levy,  LK Realty Group’s Levi Krinsky and real estate attorney Terrence Oved were among those at a 2010 fundraiser on behalf of the synagogue that was to be built.

Pinto has also been tied to a federal investigation over whether illegal donations were made by the rabbi’s followers to Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and portions of Brooklyn. The rabbi’s former aide, Ofer Biton, was arrested in August for immigration fraud — and is alleged to have solicited campaign donations on behalf of Grimm above and beyond legal limits and from those who are not citizens of the United States. This month, The Real Deal called Rep. Michael Grimm’s race against Mark Murphy for New York’s 13th District seat one key political battles with significant implications for real estate and housing.  —Gabrielle Birkner

  • KaKaw

    39 years old?> He doesnt age very well… He looks like he’s 65

    • Charlotte

      UNDER THE MASK he may look young… LMAO
      Maybe the beard is just a disguise, so he would intentionally look older.
      I doubt spiritual plays any roll here. LOL
      Maybe he started out spiritual, but greed got him.

  • Raging Realtor

    Thou shalt not get cought

    • Charlotte

      LOL…..That was the point in partnering up with a few not so savory men.
      He blesses them while they all strategize how to pull a fast one.

  • IvoShandor

    oy

  • 3CPO

    Don’t worry…the rest of his crew will follow the leader

  • Raging Realtor

    Lets see if he can do time with joining the rat squad.

    • Charlotte

      He is out already doing time at home, with his wife.

  • Charlotte

    IF YL is in this bunch It can not have any spiritual linning at all. LOL
    DARK DARK DARK…..

  • New Yorker

    Maybe its time to investigate and discover the truth behind all the “Hasidim” real estate mafia in new york…

MENU

Subscribe to our email newsletters

New York Real Estate News
South Florida Real Estate News