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Crime Doesn’t Pay As Much Any More

Whether or not crime pays, the government is entitled to its lawful share of the criminal’s ill-gotten gains, a Tel Aviv magistrate ruled yesterday. Judge Yitzhak Braaz fined Yoel Kochavi the equivalent of $40 and imposed a two-month suspended sentence for failure to file income tax returns for the years 1980-82. Kochavi admitted his income was derived from burglary and robbery.

He said he did not file a return because of a “work accident.” Kochavi fell from a first-floor apartment he was attempting to break into and served time in jail for that offense.

Braaz ruled that taxes must be paid even on illegal income. Otherwise, he said, robbers, burglars, pimps and procurers could justify tax evasion on grounds that their earnings were outside the law. He imposed a light sentence on Kochavi who swore he was abandoning his life of crime and intended to open a repair business.