Director of Chabad at UCSD Admits to Conspiracy to Defraud Qualcomm with Former Chabad of Poway Rabbi Goldstein

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Assistant U. S. Attorneys Michelle L. Wasserman (619) 546-8431 and Valerie Chu (619) 546-6750

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – January 26, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Rabbi Yehuda Hadjadj, director of Chabad at the University of California, San Diego, pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiring with former Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and at least three other individuals to defraud Qualcomm’s corporate matching program.

Beginning no later than August 2010 and continuing through late 2017, Hadjadj fraudulently obtained funds from Qualcomm’s corporate matching program for Chabad at UCSD, by inducing at least three donors to make sham donations to Friendship Circle, a non-sectarian organization run at the time by Rabbi Goldstein.  Chabad at UCSD was not eligible to receive corporate matching funds from Qualcomm, as the corporate matching program excluded sectarian or denominational religious groups from its eligible donation recipients.  To conceal the true recipient of the matched funds, Hadjadj told the donors to write checks to Friendship Circle.  At the time, or shortly after the donor wrote the check, Hadjadj returned all or most of the donation in cash.  The donors would nonetheless request that Qualcomm match the sham donation.  After Qualcomm matched the sham donations to Friendship Circle, Rabbi Goldstein funneled approximately two thirds of the matched funds back to Hadjadj, keeping one third for himself.

According to Hadjadj’s plea agreement, on September 26, 2017, a donor wrote a check for $4,900 to Friendship Circle.  Shortly thereafter Hadjadj visited the donor’s home and gave him $4,400 in cash.  The donor nonetheless requested that Qualcomm match the $4,900 sham donation.  In total, Hadjadj met with this donor eleven times to give him cash in exchange for sham matched donations to Friendship Circle.  Hadjadj recruited at least two additional donors to engage in this scheme.  Hadjadj fraudulently obtained approximately $40,000 for Chabad at UCSD over the course of the scheme.   

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In July 2020, Rabbi Goldstein pleaded guilty to fraud charges, admitting that he participated in a complex, years-long, multi-million-dollar tax-evasion scheme and other financial deceptions involving theft of public money.  Rabbi Goldstein’s plea agreement outlined the fraud scheme with Hadjadj.

Hadjadj is the tenth individual to plead guilty to crimes discovered in this investigation. Two additional individuals agreed to deferred prosecution agreements as a result of the investigation. 


“Rabbi Hadjadj violated his position of trust within our community and took advantage of a corporate program meant to encourage employee charitable donations,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Fraud has no place in fundraising, and those who use lies and dishonesty to obtain money, whether for themselves or for an organization, will be held to account for their crimes.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and FBI and IRS agents for their excellent work on this case.

“The defendant abused his status and connections to help facilitate a years-long fraud scheme,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “The FBI is proud to work with our federal partners at the Internal Revenue Service to root out these schemes which not only defraud the companies who participate in corporate matching programs, but also diminish the public’s trust in the validity of charitable contributions.”

“Rabbi Hadjadj conspired with Rabbi Goldstein to cheat Qualcomm, and even recruited others who trusted him to commit fraud,” said IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner. “IRS Special Agents will do everything in our power to uncover financial deceptions, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that justice is served against all who choose to place their own greed ahead of the welfare of our businesses and the community.”

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Rabbi Hadjadj is next scheduled to appear at a sentencing hearing on April 18, 2022, at 9 a.m. before Judge Cynthia Ann Bashant.

SUMMARY OF CHARGES                        Case Number 22CR148-BAS

Yehuda Hadjadj                                            Age:47             La Jolla, CA

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371


Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison

PREVIOUSLY CHARGED DEFENDANTS AND SUMMARY OF CHARGES                     

Yisroel Goldstein, Case Number 20CR1916-BAS             Age: 58            Poway

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison

Alexander Avergoon, Case Number 19CR2955-BAS       Age: 44            San Diego                  

Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 1343


Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison

Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, USC 1028A

Maximum Penalty: Two years minimum consecutive term in prison

Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, USC 1956(a)(1)(B)(i)

Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison

Bruce Baker, Case Number 20CR1912-BAS                     Age: 74            La Jolla

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and file false tax returns, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

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Bijan Moossazadeh, Case Number 20CR1893-BAS          Age: 63            San Diego

Filing a False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, USC 7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Yousef Shemirani, Case Number 20CR1895-BAS            Age: 74            Poway

Filing a False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, USC 7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison


Boris Shkoller, Case Number 20CR1913-BAS                  Age: 83            Del Mar

Filing a False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, USC 7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Mendel Goldstein, Case Number 20CR2772-BAS             Age: 63            Brooklyn, NY

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison

Stuart Weinstock, Case Number 21CR0042-BAS             Age:    64            Escondido, CA


Filing False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, U.S.C. §7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Jason Ellis, Case Number 21CR2200-BAS             Age: 42            Poway, CA

Filing False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, U.S.C. §7206(1)

Maximum Penalty: Three years in prison

Rotem Cooper, Case Number 20CR3968-BAS                  Age:    54            San Diego      

Deferred Prosecution Agreement


Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

Igor Shtilkind, Case Number 20CR3955-BAS                   Age:    55            San Diego

Deferred Prosecution Agreement

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, USC 371

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

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Internal Revenue Service


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