The founding rabbi of a Poway synagogue who rose to national prominence after being wounded in an antisemitic shooting, and was then exposed as the perpetrator of multimillion-dollar fraud schemes, was sentenced Tuesday to 14 months in prison.
In a rare agreement under even rarer circumstances, both prosecutors and defense attorneys had recommended home confinement rather than time behind bars for Yisroel Goldstein. They cited his leadership in the weeks following the 2019 attack on Chabad of Poway, the immense physical and emotional trauma the former rabbi continues to battle, and his cooperation in the FBI’s fraud investigation.
But the judge rejected that punishment as not appropriate given the severity of the crimes.
“You not only committed this offense yourself but you took a lot of people with you,” U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant told Goldstein, 60.
“I think it’s important to send a message to the community, and I think it’s important to send a message to you,” she added.
Goldstein must also pay about $2.8 million in restitution, an amount shared with several other defendants who were prosecuted as participants in the financial cons.
He must self-surrender by Feb. 23, although he could appeal for a later date if COVID-19 continues to surge. The judge agreed to recommend he be housed at a medium-security federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., which his defense attorney said is known to accommodate observant Jews.
As a rabbi in the Chabad…