Rabbi to celebrities sentenced to one year in prison for bribery
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Rabbi to celebrities sentenced to one year in prison for bribery

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yoshiyahu Pinto, an Israeli rabbi who has counseled such celebrities as LeBron James, was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to bribing a senior police official.

Pinto, 39, also was fined 1 million shekels, about $260,000, in Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday.

In a plea deal finalized last month, the rabbi pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, attempted bribery and obstruction of justice for attempting to bribe a senior police officer for information in another investigation about him. Pinto, the head of several charity organizations and yeshivas in Ashdod, in southern Israel, and in the United States, agreed to provide evidence that he bribed a more senior officer.

Pinto, whose attorneys had argued for community service and no jail time, will begin serving his sentence on June 28.

Prominent Israelis, politicians, businessmen and sports figures have sought counsel from Pinto on business and personal matters. Along with James, the NBA star, they include former Rep. Anthony Weiner, businessman Jay Schottenstein and Israeli soccer star Guy Levy.

In April 2014, U.S. prosecutors brought charges against former Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., for receiving large contributions from followers of Pinto. Grimm admitted to receiving several hundred thousand dollars in contributions from Pinto followers.

Pinto, a kabbalist, is the great-grandson of the well-known Morocco-born mystic known as the Baba Sali.