In the most general terms, what Eli Weinstein orchestrated were fake real estate transactions, hundreds of them. Weinstein would raise funds from investor/victims for a property purchase, then use those funds for other purposes, without disclosing to investors what he was doing with their funds.
These schemes resulted in the loss of, minimally, $200 million.
Given the reluctance of the Haredi community to get involved in civil lawsuits, the possibility is great that many ripped off investors have chosen to remain silent. The losses are thus probably much higher than the $200 million number.
There were several ways Eli Weinstein scammed his victims. The scams – “deals,” he called them – began in 2004 and lasted until 2013, when he was finally imprisoned.
The most important skill that Eli Weinstein possessed was his ability to lie right to a person’s face. He appeared to have no compunction deceiving a person while looking him or her directly in the eye.
The first tactic in practically all of the Eli Weinstein’s scams was that Weinstein would purport to own a parcel or piece of real estate. Or, he would say that a particular piece of real estate, about which he had inside information, could be purchased and quickly resold, “flipped,” at a substantial profit for the investor and him.
Weinstein often claimed to have a third-party purchaser lined up for the transaction. The third-party was usually an accomplice of Weinstein’s, simply acting as a purchaser.