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Former official at La Jolla synagogue admits theft

Crime, Law and JusticeJustice SystemCourts and the JudiciaryPersonal ServicePurim

SAN DIEGO - The former executive director of Congregation Beth El synagogue in La Jolla has pleaded guilty to embezzling $394,872 from the synagogue over five years, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Eric Levine, 36, had control of the synagogue's bank account and credit card from 2008 to 2013, overseeing the synagogue's annual budget of nearly $2 million.

Levine recorded the expenses as Ritual Fund, Rabbi Emeritus, High Holidays, Purim Baskets, landscaping and other things, according to documents filed in federal court in San Diego.

He used the money for trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii, Canada and the La Costa Resort Spa, according to documents. He bought expensive leather furniture and jewelry and paid for Disney vacations and the cost of sending his children to private school, according to documents.

Levine faces a possible 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine when he is sentenced June 27 by District Judge Dana Sabraw on his guilty plea to mail fraud. Restitution to the synagogue will also be required, prosecutors said.

 

 

 

 

 

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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