Members of the Lev Tahor community are now at the centre of a criminal investigation.
Earlier today, police authorities from Quebec along with Chatham-Kent Police arrived at the Lev Tahor apartments north of Chatham, Ontario with a search warrant looking for documents and computers.
Lev Tahor was recently in family court to fight a move by the Chatham-Kent Children’s Aid Society to remove 14 of its children from their families. Last November, the sect packed up and moved in the middle of the night to Chatham, lock, stock and “chumash” (printed version of the Torah), before a Quebec verdict of whether or not children should be removed from their community and placed in foster homes, came down. The sect is now awaiting a judge’s ruling on the Chatham-Kent Children’s Aid Society decision to remove 14 of its children from their families at the request of Quebec child welfare authorities which was based on evidence of abuse, neglect, poor hygiene and other concerns. The judge’s decision is expected to be made on February 3rd.
I doubt if the search warrant has any connection to the child welfare or foster care verdicts that are expected in February. As there is no specific offence of family violence within the Criminal Code of Canada, I can only surmise that this matter is related to something else. I also doubt that Police would intervene on this matter while a decision is in the process of being made by the courts.
Whenever I have read about search warrants for documents and computers, it is usually about a financially motivated crimes such as fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, etc.
In December of last year, I discussed how Lev Tahor amassed over $6 million in assets while in Quebec, and that in 2012, the Society for Spiritual Development, one of Lev Tahor’s charities even transferred $3.3 million to another Jewish charity in Quebec, the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions.
Congregation Riminov, one of the charities controlled by Shlomo Helebrans, Lev Tahor’s leader, brought in more than $1.9-million in 2005 and claimed land and property assets of $5.6 million in 2006. The organization lost its charitable status in 2007 for not filing mandatory information with the Canada Revenue Agency. In 2011, Lev Tahor received a donation from an, unnamed, registered charity to the tune of $4.3 million, CRA filings show.
I also discovered another matter in my attempt to investigate the Quebec charity called the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions. I was unable to find very much about them, but I did find the revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities reported by the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions in 2012 which is illustrated in the following figure.
This was the same year that Lev Tahor’s Society for Spiritual Development transferred $3.3 million to this charity.
I am not a forensic accountant, but I cannot understand how the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions can report revenues of $678,470 when it received a transfer of $3.3 million from Lev Tahor. I am still curious about the relationship between the Canadian Friends of Holy Land Institutions, and Lev Tahor and its Society for Spiritual Development.
Hopefully, authorities will be able to shed some light on this.