Show me the Money

April 23, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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A Brisbane court has been told that a man who swindled $2.2 million from Australian investors gave $464,000 to the Jewish Defence League and the Gold Coast Jewish Community.

The Gold Coast Hebrew Congregation and Gold Coast Chabad communities have never heard of Michael John O’Hara….but the Temple Shalom has and has never received a cent from him.

O’Hara was sentenced to ten years in jail in the Brisbane District Court on Friday for scamming $1.8 million through a fake Gold Coast-based investment company between June 2005 and September 2006.

In 2002, O’Hara was involved in a scheme through which he attempted to sell pistols which he claimed belonged to Hitler. That story appears later…

In the meantime Jan Marriott, the administrator of the progressive Temple Shalom on the Gold Coast told J-Wire: “O’Hara used to attend our shul often in the company of strange friends some of whom were dressed in ultra-orthodox garb. When the story of the Hitler pistols was published he disappeared from our community and most of our congregants were glad to see the back of him. He was very strange…but I can assure you he never gave the Shul a cent let alone $464,000. I remember an incident when security had to evict his friends from the Shule.”

O’Hara told the court that his family had come from Germany where they had been persecuted and had acquired a new identity in Australia. The court was told that O’Hara was obsessed with protecting the Jewish community.

O’Hara had set up a second company following his $1.8m success with the sole intention of using the money scammed from 17 investors to aid the local Jewish communities and the Jewish Defence League.

President of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies Jason Steinberg told J-Wire: “If there was a sum of money like that being meted out to the community, I would have known about it. I have never heard of Mr O’Hara and never heard of his ‘donations’.”

A former Australian representative of the US-based Jewish Defence League said: “When we were operating, O’Hara took out membership which was open. Without going into detail it is suffice to say that he was eventually expelled from the organisation. Since the Jewish communities organised effective security several years ago there has been no need for the JDL to have a presence in Australia and any suggestion that they would have received money from an expelled member is ridiculous. There is no JDL in Australia and there has been none for almost a decade.”

The Hitler Pistols story…

The head of the militant Jewish Defense League in Australia has been accused of fraud for his attempts to sell the pistol Hitler purportedly used to kill himself.

Ze’ev Korwan, 51, faces a September court date on 139 counts of fraud.

Korwan, who was charged under his real name of Michael O’Hara, allegedly forged documents using ink produced in Germany in 1936 in an effort to authenticate Hitler’s gun as well as a second gun owned by Geli Raubal, Hitler’s niece and lover.

The documents – including letters from SS chief Heinrich Himmler and Emile Maurice, Hitler’s driver and bodyguard – then allegedly were inserted into archives in Germany and Russia.

Asking $2.5 million for each gun, Korwan put them on the world market through dealers in Melbourne, Australia, and Greensboro, N.C.

The sellers claimed the guns had been taken from Hitler’s valet by the Russians, kept in Stalin’s safe and then stored in KGB archives.

The sale allegedly was being made on behalf of an Austrian family that had paid $700,000 to get the guns out of Russia.

However, the Melbourne Sunday Age newspaper and the German publication Der Spiegel uncovered the alleged fraud after they combined forces to investigate the authenticity of the guns.

Korwan has been described in the media as a private investigator, British soccer player and swimming coach.

He told an Australian newspaper that “through the Hitler guns, the JDL identified several major illegal arms operators supplying so-called legitimate Arab royals, who then passed the weapons on to terrorist cells.”

In his capacity as the Australian representative of the JDL, Korwan has been visiting synagogues and attempting to raise funds for the group.

But Jewish officials in Melbourne and Queensland’s Gold Coast have barred him from entering synagogues, and Jewish communities throughout Australia have been placed on alert.

“We do not believe Mr. Korwan is Jewish, and I have advised the community to have nothing to do with him,” said David Paratz, the leader of the Queensland Jewish Community.

“We are aware that he has tried to elicit funds in Melbourne, and I believe he has been successful in some cases,” added Graham Leonard, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. “We can only warn people to be careful.”

Korwan said: “We told them they had no right to stop us. I wanted to speak with Hashem in his house,” referring to God.



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