California officials have filed civil charges against the officers and directors of the Jewish Educational Center, a San Francisco-based national charity with a multimillion-dollar used-car operation, accusing them of fraud, theft and unfair business practices.
The California attorney general's office says defendants diverted donations for personal use, while advertising that the money went to charitable causes.
Bentziyon Pil and his wife, Mattie, who ran the organization, allegedly diverted $100,000 from the organization's bank accounts to buy a home and more than $30,000 to pay for their son's bar mitzvah, court documents said. 'Defendants have, at a minimum, commingled funds and assets of the charitable corporation with their own funds, in clear violation of the law,' said court documents filed by the state.
The center has made honest mistakes and has tried to correct them, said Carol Ruth Silver, the group's attorney.
The Superior Court of the State of California in San Francisco on June 16 appointed a receiver to manage the center in response to the attorney general's action.