Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Making a mockery of religion II

While we're on the subject of fraud...

Fortune Magazine has chosen this moment to profile Dina Wein Reis, an Orthodox woman who is going to stand trial next year in the States on charges of duping Fortune 500 companies out of at least $20 million dollars (that is the figure the government is trying to recover, but the companies' exact losses are unknown). She was busted late last year.

Read the whole thing here - it is quite fascinating. But two paragraphs stand out:

In at least one remarkable way, Wein Reis did not fit the profile of a pure hustler. A person familiar with her finances says she gave at least 10% of her profits to charity. She regularly hosted homeless people in her townhouse. When an Israeli rabbi called her about the death of a man in his congregation in a suicide bombing, Wein Reis sent the rabbi a big check but insisted the gift be anonymous.

Of course, many people will use this as evidence that Wein Reis was not really a bad person; that she could not possibly have committed the crimes of which she is accused; etc etc. The prosecutors allege, however, that this was not her money to give away.


Wein Reis enlisted her rabbi in her bid to convince a judge that she should not be required to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. Orthodox practice, the rabbi said, forbids women from wearing slacks or pantsuits. Summer was coming, Wein Reis's lawyer noted, and any skirt or dress shorter than ankle length would reveal the bracelet, which would complicate her efforts to get a new job. The
judge agreed.

It might seem a little rich for a woman accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars (by, allegedly, flirting with her clients) to be worried about her modesty, but she is, after all, innocent until proven guilty. Nevertheless, a really frum woman could hardly object to having to wear ankle-length skirts. If I were American, I'd want to know the identity of the rabbi who helped her use religion to get her way in court.


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