La Jolla synagogue exec guilty of fraud

Posted By on April 8, 2014

LA JOLLA The former executive director of the Congregation Beth El synagogue in La Jolla admitted Tuesday to embezzling more than $16,000 to cover his own credit card bill.

Eric Levine pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court to one count of wire fraud. He is set to be sentenced in June.

The U.S. attorneys office said Levine oversaw Beth Els annual budget of about $2 million and had access to the synagogues bank accounts, credit card accounts and bookkeeping records.

He worked as the executive director from 2007 to 2013.

On Dec. 13, 2011, he transferred $16,712 from Beth El to pay his own credit card bill, court records say.

Levine was allowed to remain free on $25,000 bond, secured by his signature, until he is sentenced.

Temple President Sonia Israel sent a letter to the temple congregation in February last year, saying Levine actually misappropriated more than $390,000 in temple funds over five years.

Israels letter said she and other Beth El executives confronted Levine in January of 2013 with evidence of embezzlement. He had left Beth El for another job nearly two months earlier.

He admitted that the deceptive record keeping and illegal transfer of funds was intentional, Israels letter said. He then apologized and did not deny any of the accusations.

Beth El Rabbi Philip Graubart also wrote to the congregation, saying, We were victimized by a skilled liar. We will carry the brokenness with us for a long time.

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La Jolla synagogue exec guilty of fraud

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