Rabbi gets 60 days for money laundering; state wanted 12 years
NEW BRUNSWICK — A rabbi convicted of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars will serve just 60 days in jail — even though prosecutors hoped to send him to prison for a dozen years.
Supporters of Rabbi Osher Eisemann packed a courtroom in support during his sentencing hearing on Monday.
Eisemann, 60, of Lakewood, had been the director of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence. He as was found guilty by a Middlesex County jury of second-degree charges of money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official.
During his trial, the prosecution argued Eisemann misappropriated $200,000 in school funds that he used in a scheme designed to make it appear that he used personal funds to repay debts he owed to SCHI.
It also said that between 2011 and 2015, Eisemann used the a fundraising foundation called the Services for Hidden Intelligence to misappropriate $779,000 in operating funds from SCHI. The state office of the Attorney General said that was specifically public tuition monies entrusted to the school to educate special needs children.
The OAG said Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca Jr. agreed to a 60-day sentence and probation "over the state's objection," because the judge found Eisemann had overcome the presumption of imprisonment attached to his second-degree offenses. The AOG said it's considering an appeal.
Eisemann was acquitted of a charge of first-degree corruption of public resources, and the SHI was acquitted of all charges.
The OAG said Bucca Monday denied a motion filed by the defense to have him set aside the jury verdict and enter a judgment of acquittal or order a new trial.
Among those in the courtroom was Eisemann's special needs son, according to the Asbury Park Press. Eisemann's lawyer, Lee Vartan, was emotional when he read a letter to the judge urging him to disregard the state's recommendation of a 12 year sentence because of the rabbi's "good character."
He said Eisemann paid back the money from the school in 12 days and the school was not hurt.
Bucca also ordered Eisemann to pay an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty of $250,000. The parties will return to court July 1 to determine when Eisemann must report for his jail term.
— With previous reporting by Dan Alexander