An Israeli citizen claims that a Rockland County couple exploited his religious beliefs to scam him in real estate schemes.Simon Frand sued Naomi and Abraham Woldiger and Jersey Heights Investment LLC, a New Jersey company registered to their home address in Monsey, last month in federal court in White Plains.
“The Woldigers specifically sought out people in their own religious communities,” the complaint states, “whom they believed they could trick, deceive and dupe into sending them money, anticipating that these individuals would not seek redress through the court system due to their religious beliefs.”
A woman who answered the phone at a number listed to the Woldigers said the couple was not there. She refused to identify herself or take a message but said “just call back” around suppertime. There also was no response to a request for comment sent to their fax number.
Frand claims that he wired $340,000 to the Woldigers from 2012 to 2015 for four New Jersey real estate ventures. He was to receive between 25 percent and 30 percent of the rents or sales proceeds on properties in Jersey City and West New York.
When he demanded reimbursement or an accounting of his money, the complaint states, the Woldigers evaded him.
At one point, Abraham Woldiger allegedly advised Frand that Woldiger was “judgement proof,” because he had been incarcerated and had no assets in his name.
Court records show an Abraham Woldiger of Monsey, a German citizen living in the U.S. since 1987, was one of five men indicted in 1998 in Brooklyn federal court for bilking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) out of $2 million in rent subsidies. One of the HUD projects was in Jersey City.
He pleaded guilty to obstruction of a federal audit, was sentenced to prison for 10 months and was released in 2001. He also agreed, according to court records, to a $900,000 forfeiture settlement.
Frand says Abraham Woldiger first solicited him in 2010 to acquire, manage, build, develop or flip real estate in New Jersey. Frand decided to invest in the ventures with his brother and other people he knows.
He states that he wired money from Swiss banks to accounts controlled by Naomi Woldiger.
Frand claims that Abraham Woldiger created a fictitious settlement agreement last year in which Woldiger presented Frand’s lawyer with a $1.2 million “funds transfer request authorization” for a down payment. The wire, the complaint states, was never sent.
Frand is accusing the Woldigers of breach of contract and unjust enrichment and is demanding an accounting of how his money was used on the real estate ventures.