The Tel Aviv District court convicts Michael Ben-Ari for his role in running a $150 million Ponzi scheme, believed to be the worst such scam ever carried out in the Jewish state.
Under a plea bargain agreement accepted by the court, Ben-Ari will serve between 5 and 9.5 years in prison. The specifics of the sentence will be decided by the court in six months.
Ben-Ari, also known as Michael Greenfield, is an American-Israeli accused of defrauding about a thousand investors in both countries in a 15-year scam. Hebrew media has dubbed Ben-Ari “the Israeli Madoff.”
Under the agreement, Ben-Ari is supposed to cooperate with authorities ahead of the sentencing as they try and recover assets and restore funds to the victims. He will remain in custody during this period.
Israel arrested Ben-Ari in April 2021. But he fled the country on someone else’s passport following his release to house arrest after he posted a NIS 2 million ($625,000) bond. He was later caught in Bosnia and extradited back to Israel.