Rav Shmuel Fuerst: May one report Jewish Ponzi Schemers to secular authorities, even if it will hurt their children?

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(VINnews) — Unfortunately, there has been a trend of Ponzi Schemes and other scams which have plagued the frum community of late.

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Rabbi Dovid Lichtenstein, host of the “Halacha Headlines” podcast, discussed this serious matter on his latest episode.

One of his guests was Rav Shmuel Fuerst shlit’a, Rav of Agudas Yisrael of Chicago, a renowned Dayan and Posek, and one of America’s leading Gedolim.

R’ Lichtenstein asked if it is considered lashon hara to discuss someone [who is committing a Ponzi Scheme].

Rav Fuerst repled, “If you know this person is not ehrlich…and the chance is that [the investor] will most probably not get their money back, it is not lashon hara.”

He continued, “Fakhert (on the contrary)–It is ‘Lo Saamod al dam rayecha’ to not warn people.” (It is considered standing by while a Jew is in danger, which is forbidden). He quoted the Chafetz Chaim who says this applies not only to life-and-death matters but financial matters as well.

Rabbi Fuerst added that sometimes the yetzer hara tries to persuade people that it is lashon hara, when in fact it is not.

The Rav added that not only is one allowed to warn, he is obligated to do so.

R’ Lichentestein then asked if there is a concern of ‘Mesira’ to alert secular authorities, which is often necessary because Bais Din is limited in their ability to recoup the money taken.

Rav Fuerst replied that it is a clear halacha in Shulchan Aruch, which states that if someone is Mazik the Rabim, you are allowed to be Moser him.

R’ Liechtenstein asked about a story involving Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT”L, who paskened regarding a butcher in Baltimore who was mazik the Rabim, Rav Moshe held that if the Mesira will do more damage than a Bais Din would have the right to do, one is not allowed to alert the authorities.

Rav Fuerst replied:

  1. Not everyone agrees with this. Rav Elyasihiv held like the Panim Meiros, that there is no Mesira even if someone will end up in jail
  2. He is not convinced that the butcher in that story was in fact mazik the Rabim, he would think that if someone is mazik the Rabim, Rav Moshe would agree that one can call the authorities.

Another issue raised was that if people report the issue to the police or other authorities, it will hurt the shidduchim of the scammer’s children.

Rav Fuerst said that when it comes to shidduchim, people need to have seichel–even if the father does bad things, the children can still be ehrliche people.

He added that even if it affects the shidduchum–the Shulchan Aruch knew that could happen, but still issued the ruling, despite that concern.

He said that the Ribbono Shel Olam runs the world , and if it is bashert for someone to find [their match], they will find him / her, even in this situation.


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Rudolph Weinstein
Rudolph Weinstein
7 months ago

So the scammer can steal innocent people’s money, affecting entire families and the “shidduchim of the children ” and there is still a shaila? We have become too frum while losing sight of ehrlichkeit!

DLZ
DLZ
7 months ago

יהי ממון חברך חביב עליך כשלך
Wouldn’t you want to be warned?
This is basic.
We don’t use Torah as a shield to HURT someone!!
Besides, this gives the perpetrator a chance to do teshuva in this world. His children will be better off.
As to Shidduchim, Hashem runs the world, not the local gossipers. Hasn’t the Torah already taught us that good people can be offspring of evil and vice versa.

Yaakov
Yaakov
7 months ago

The Alter of Sladbodka said that the first Mitzvah of the Torah is, “Don’t be a fool.” When dealing with thieves common sense is the order of the day. When people steal they put aside their piety. It’s amazing how ostensibly Orthodox Jews can justify in their minds the types of things they do. I’m involved in a law suit now with some frum people. I can’t go into specifics but they’ve basically violated all Halachos Bein Adam Le Adam. And it’s for a relatively small amount of money. When frum Jews steal it’s not only about the money. It’s also about Gaavah. Their ability to pull off their caper completely clouds their judgement. We should show no mercy to such people because they will do anything to get away with their plan.

get it straight
get it straight
7 months ago

lash hara was meant to protect good people, not bad people

Rosalie J Lieberman
Rosalie J Lieberman
7 months ago

Ehrlichkeit is often missing from some super wealthy business people. I recall reading about, sorry to say, a billionaire who owns/owned a horribly run nursing home facility in a Chicago suburb. Nursing homes are not how he became wealthy, nor does he live in Chicago. Yet here was his name in a prominent newspaper, and anyone could figure out who he is. Did he really need that nursing home, did he need to let it get so bad the authorities had to get involved? Lack of ehrlichkeit is often positioned with a lack of seichal. It hurts when the media publicizes names of shomer Shabbos people. Why do they allow themselves to be so negligent of their responsibilities as business owners? Oy to all of us.

Chaim
Chaim
7 months ago

Chaval — That we need a radio show to help us have sechel hayashar. Next show should interview firemen who see a Jew setting a fire to his place of business for insurance, is the Jewish fireman allowed to report the Jew who set the fire? Or a Jewish policeman seeing a Jew murder another Jew or gentile, does he need to call his rav before he reports or automatically he becomes a moser just for thinking of reporting him? How dumb we have become!

Johny
Johny
7 months ago

So many Jewish stories of thiefs the stories are non – stop they get away with it by running to Israel or Rabbis protect them.
This is happening daily.

Normal
Normal
7 months ago

The above is only of the scammer is not erlich. Is he is not erlich he can steal people’s money, the more the better.

Taka Taka
Taka Taka
7 months ago

What a bizarre concept. To not report a criminal because it “might” hurt his kids. Maybe he needed to think of that first.