Ponzi Suspect Got Me Out Of Hell Says Teen

More on Joseph Shereshevsky.

From the New York Daily News:

A Brooklyn teen once banished to a Jamaican boot camp has come to the defense of a businessman charged with scamming mostly Orthodox Jewish investors out of $250 million.

Isaac Hersh, 16, says accused swindler Joseph Shereshevsky paid for the private jet that whisked him out of Jamaica in March, freeing him from what he called a "living hell."

"If not for Joseph, I would have still been in hell," Isaac wrote to the Manhattan federal judge who will decide whether Shereshevsky should be released on bail. "I owe my life to him."

Isaac’s family sent him to Tranquility Bay, a private Jamaican reform school last year, a move that sparked an internal battle among ultra-Orthodox Jews.

After 9-1/2 months, Isaac was freed in March when some members of the Orthodox community rallied to his cause. He claimed he was repeatedly abused and forced to lie on a mat with his hands and feet tied.

Shereshevsky’s lawyer, John Meringolo, will ask a judge Thursday to release the Jewish philanthropist from Norfolk, Va., on $5 million bail. He is being held without bail.

Shereshevsky and a Chicago-based partner are accused of masterminding a Ponzi scheme that snookered some 1,200 investors across the globe, including some who toiled in Manhattan’s Diamond District.

The feds say Shereshevsky, the son of a rabbi, drew upon the shared ties he and his investors have in the Orthodox Jewish faith to convince them to turn over their hard-earned cash.

Dozens of members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Norfolk have sent letters supporting Shereshevsky’s release, including several rabbis.

His father-in-law has agreed to put up the deed to his Baltimore home and 10 others are willing to post some $4million in cash, Meringolo said.

"Mr. Shereshevsky’s enduring and strong connection to the community indicates that there is no reason to believe that he will not appear before this court when required," Meringolo added.

The father of seven is asking to be kept on home confinement so he can continue supporting his family and a quadriplegic brother.

In his letter, Isaac said he was awakened in the middle of the night at his father’s Brooklyn home by two burly men who handcuffed him and tossed him in the back of a car before forcing him to board a jet for Jamaica.

"They got me on a plane to the island of Jamaica and transported me to an inhumane facility where malnutrition, child abuse and mistreatment was practiced on a day-to-day basis," Isaac wrote.

Shereshevsky agreed to help. "Despite the fact that he never met me, he right away went ahead and paid for the jet [home] out of his own pocket," wrote Isaac, who now lives with an aunt in Brooklyn.

"I consider Joseph Shereshevsky a great individual and mentor and I strictly don’t believe the horrific things being said about him."

tzambito@nydailynews.com

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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