Lakewood Special Needs School Director gets 60-days for money laundering
The founder and director of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI) in Lakewood who was facing 5-10 years in prison for money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official, has been sentenced to 60-days in jail, announced Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
Rabbi Osher Eisemann, 62, the founder and director of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (“SCHI”) in Lakewood was sentenced today to 60 days in jail and a term of probation.
In February, a Middlesex County jury found Eisemann guilty at trial of using nearly one-million in school funds in a money laundering scheme.
Eisemann's sentence is a condition of a term of two years of probation by Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca Jr. in Middlesex County.
Judge Bucca ordered Eisemann to pay an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty of $250,000.00.
The parties will return to court on July 1, when the judge will determine the date that Eisemann must report to serve his jail term.
Eisemann was found guilty on February 27 of second-degree charges of money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official.
The state requested that Eisemann be sentenced to 12 years in prison – six years for each charge.
Second-degree charges carry a presumptive sentence of five to 10 years in prison, and by law, the money laundering charge cannot merge with the other charge and carries a consecutive sentence.
The judge instead imposed a sentence of probation over the state’s objection, finding Eisemann had overcome the presumption of imprisonment attached to his second-degree convictions.
The Attorney General’s Office is now reviewing the judge’s decision and considering an appeal.
Eisemann was acquitted at trial of additional charges, including a charge of first-degree corruption of public resources.
The school’s fundraising foundation, Services for Hidden Intelligence, LLC, was acquitted of all charges.
Judge Bucca today denied a motion filed by the defense that sought to have him set aside the jury verdict and enter a judgment of acquittal or order a new trial.
Deputy Attorneys General Anthony J. Robinson and John Nicodemo tried the case and handled the sentencing for the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
They were assisted at trial by Analyst Nathalie Kurzawa.
Eisemann was indicted in an investigation by the OPIA, assisted by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
The investigation began with a referral from the New Jersey Department of Education regarding SCHI’s financial practices.
In connection with the money laundering charge of which Eisemann was found guilty, the state presented testimony and evidence that Eisemann misappropriated $200,000.00 in school funds that he used in a money laundering scheme designed to make it appear that he used personal funds to repay debts he owed to SCHI.
The state also presented testimony and evidence at trial that between 2011 and 2015, Eisemann used the fundraising foundation to misappropriate $779,000.00 in operating funds from SCHI, specifically, public tuition monies entrusted to the school to educate special needs children.
The state argued that he used those funds for various personal purposes unrelated to SCHI.
Eisemann was found guilty of the second charge, misconduct by a corporate official, because he used a corporation, Services for Hidden Intelligence, LLC, to facilitate criminal activity.
That count incorporated all of the allegations in the indictment.
Lee Vartan, Esq., Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, PC.
In March of 2019, Eisemann's Attorney Lee Vartan said his client never took any money from the school:
"The most important thing is that it's a tremendous victory for Rabbi Eisemann and the entire Defense team. What this case was about, according to the state, was about the theft of public money, that's what the Attorney General said in his press release, that's what they opened on, that's what they closed on. The jury said loud and clear there was no theft of public money. No public money was taken, private money was used and private money is without restriction and not regulated by the department of education.
At the end of the day, first and foremost, this is a big win for justice and for the truth because there was never a day...he (Eisemann) said 'I never took a dollar from the school, I would never take a dollar from the school', and the jury agreed. What they convicted on, was first of all legally indefensible and we'll show that to the judge and if not to this judge then to the appellate division, once count three falls away count five can't stand either.
At the end of all of this, all of the counts will be gone. It will all end up in full vindication for Rabbi Eisemann. The most important part of today is the jury agreed he never stole any public money and the state's full theory was flawed."
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