Fake rabbi impersonates 3,000 people

"What's the problem? So I'm not a real rabbi. 
Oh, the stealing..."

A guy in Chicago pretended he was a rabbi and stole the identities of federal inmates and dead people to file fake tax returns and get refunds.

Over six years, Marvin Berkowitz, 64, led the scam with about 10 others. He also recruited another 50 people to accept the money.

The group impersonated 3,000 different people.

To find people they could pretend to be, they searched online for obituaries, federal prisoners, and federal records, all of which helped them create the phony returns.

They stole about $4.5 million from the U. S. government.

Mr. Berkowitz had fled to Israel to avoid a tax fraud case, but was arrested.

He kept much of the scam within his family. His two sons and son-in-law were also charged.

Fake rabbi admits million-dollar tax fraud. Ringleader used the stolen identities of dead people and federal inmates to file phony tax returns, Chicago Tribune>

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