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Alleged bank defrauder sentenced in Israel

The Associated Press
Wednesday November 28, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — An investment real estate agent accused of bilking more than $20 million from four Bay Area banks has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison by a judge in Israel. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco announced the sentencing on Monday. 

Zev Ben-Simon, 57, former owner of Taldan Investment Company, was convicted in September by a Tel Aviv court after being indicted in August 1993 by a federal grand jury in San Francisco. 

Ben-Simon fled to Israel prior to the indictment, and U.S. officials were unable to extradite him because it was not authorized by Israeli law at that time. 

Authorities in Israel conducted their own investigation and found him guilty of defrauding First Deposit National Bank, Bay View Federal Bank, World Saving & Loan and United Savings Bank. He has been ordered to pay about $1 million and to repay $250,000 to the government in Israel. 

The judge in Israel found Ben-Simon guilty of committing fraud connected with large commercial loans the banks made to purchase or refinance commercial properties in San Francisco. 

The district court in Tel Aviv began hearing the case in July 1997.