Former Grimm fundraiser admits to visa fraud

Biton helped direct donations from Rabbi Pinto supporters to Grimm’s campaign

TRD NEW YORK /
Aug.August 18, 2013 06:00 PM

A former fundraiser for Representative Michael G. Grimm who helped direct hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, the spiritual leader who counts many of the city’s real estate heavyweights among his followers, to Grimm’s campaign pleaded guilty to visa fraud, the New York Times reported.

Ofer Biton, an Israeli immigrant, was arrested last August and charged with lying on his visa application. In Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Friday, Biton admitted to lying about the source of $400,000 that he claimed to have put into a new business that could have made him eligible for a permanent visa.

As The Real Deal reported last fall, Grimm reportedly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters of Pinto for the 2010 election. The FBI is investigating allegations from some of Pinto’s followers that their contributions to Grimm’s campaign were illegal.

Pinto was arrested last fall for alleged bribery. The arrest came amid claims that millions of dollars in real estate investments he’s connected to cannot be accounted for.

Pinto’s followers have said that Grimm or Biton told them that the campaign would find a way to accept donations that were either over the legal limit, given in cash or given by foreigners who did not have permanent resident status.

Congressional campaigns are not allowed to accept cash donations of more than $100 and foreigners without resident status are legally barred from donating to political campaigns.

At the time of Biton’s arrest, lawyers not involved in the case said that the charges appeared to have been meant to persuade him to cooperate with the authorities in the investigation of Grimm, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. [NYT] – James Comtois


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Robert Durst appears in court for during opening statements in his murder trial on March 4, 2020 in Los Angeles (Photo by Etienne Laurent -Pool/Getty Images)

Robert Durst murder trial could be suspended as LA courts shutter over coronavirus

Larkin Plaza (Credit: Rendering courtesy of SLCE Architects)

RXR project among developments caught up in alleged Gambino mob scheme

Michael Shah (Credit: iStock)

Manhattan DA drops charges against developer Michael Shah

Fotis Dulos (AP Images/ Erik Trautmann)

Developer Fotis Dulos, charged with killing his wife, is dead

Fotis Dulos (AP Images/ Erik Trautmann)

Connecticut developer charged with killing wife is rushed to hospital after apparent suicide attempt

Elsa Segura (left) was arrested in connection to realtor Monique Baugh's (right) murder (Credit: iStock)

Second suspect charged in real estate agent’s abduction, murder

Monique Baugh (Credit: Facebook)

Real estate agent abducted during showing and then murdered

Creston Apartments at 2030 Creston Avenue in the Bronx (Credit: Google Maps, iStock)

Construction firm with alleged mob ties worked on Bronx affordable housing project

arrow_forward_ios
Loading...