Rabbi faces fraud allegations in Australia


A U.S.-born rabbi living in Australia will head to court over allegations of fraud.

Police have been investigating Rabbi Yossi Engel, who has resided in Adelaide, South Australia, since 1998, after it was alleged last year that he signed fake report cards and applied for government funding for a Hebrew school that did not exist.

The director of public prosecutions will assess the police report on Engel before charging him and then set a court date, according to a report in the Australian Jewish News.

The Adelaide Criminal Investigation Branch is believed to have interviewed more than 50 people linked to the case in the past 10 months.

Engel’s turbulent tenure in Adelaide centered around his dismissal in late 2006 from the post of rabbi at the City of Churches’ only Orthodox synagogue, Adelaide Hebrew Congregation.

The embattled Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi appealed the dismissal to the South Australian Supreme Court, which ruled that his contract with the congregation had ended. Despite his acrimonious separation from the synagogue, Rabbi Engel, 41, formed a breakaway congregation that has divided the community.

Adelaide, a dwindling Jewish community of less than 1,000 residents, also has a small Jewish school and a Progressive temple.

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