Former fundraiser charged with immigration fraud

A former top fundraiser for New York Rep. Michael Grimm and former aide to an influential rabbi was arrested for lying on his immigration documents.

Ofer Biton, an Israeli citizen, was arraigned Aug. 17 in Brooklyn federal court, charged with lying about his financial situation when he applied two years ago for a special immigration visa for foreigners who invest $500,000 or more in a U.S. business.

Biton was ordered held without bail on an immigration detainer, according to the New York Daily News.

The New York Times reported in January that Biton, a former aide to Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, was under federal investigation over accusations that he embezzled millions of dollars from the rabbi’s congregation. The Times also reported that it conducted interviews with followers and associates of the rabbi who said Biton strong-armed donations for Grimm, a freshman New York lawmaker, that were over the legal limit, and from foreign donors without a green card, which is illegal.

Grimm was the first Republican in the House of Representatives to back the latest push for clemency for convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard.

Grimm is running for re-election in November. — jta