A convicted fraudster has been accused of stealing £40,000 from a charitable trust set up to build the Elstree and Borehamwood eruv back in 2009.
Dan Zwi Jacobs, 39, was sentenced to five years in jail on Friday for defrauding his in-laws to the tune of £120,000 in an unrelated matter, prompting the eruv’s trustees to claim that he also took money from their account six years ago.
However, they said they chose not to inform police when the money was discovered missing in May 2009, and that they instead sought the return of the money, adding that they had “no obligation” to report Jacobs to the authorities.
It was only after Jacobs left his position as the eruv trust’s company secretary that he swindled huge sums out of his wife’s parents and her elderly grandmother who lives in a care home, in order to fund a gambling habit.
Last week, prosecutors told of Jacob’s “web of deceit” in court. Having heard how Jacobs took more than £120,000 from his in-laws, the judge said his conduct was “frankly unbelievable”.
In a statement, trustees this week defended their decision not to tell the police at the time, saying: “All funds were repaid, and sanctions were put in place against Mr Jacobs by local synagogues… The legal advice received was clear that the Trustees had no obligation to report the matter the Police if the funds were repaid.”
They added: “It is always difficult when incidents like this happen within any community. The Trustees had to decide how best to deal with the matter. They took extensive expert advice and did what they thought was best for the Trust and the community.”