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23 Apr, 2009 14:58

Israel’s own Madoff arrested

Israel’s own Madoff arrested

An Israeli citizen has been arrested for financial fraud. Telling wealthy Israelis stories about his past, Eli Heifetz, 34, allegedly embezzled millions, earning himself the nickname the ‘Israeli Madoff’.

Promising his victims a 5% return per month, he never even intended to invest their money, covering the interest from newly-acquired clients.

Heifetz had all kinds of stories for his alleged victims. For some, he was an ex-Merrill Lynch analyst who works at Credit Suisse, for some, a future doctor of economics, for others, an ex-trooper, now in the secret service, despite the fact that in reality, he avoided military service due to ill health.

To the lonely women, he spoke of a potential marriage.

Meanwhile, the already-married Heifetz rented an apartment that cost him $3,000 a month, and spent money on jewelry.

Overall, his schemes worked on around 60 victims, earning some $6 million. This prompts a comparison with Bernard Madoff.

His lawyers, however, will try and change the accusation from fraud to a much softer 'mismanagement.'