CHICAGO, Illinois – A Chicago suburban man was sentenced to 3.5 years in federal prison for stealing more than $ 831,000 from a charity for Israeli children with disabilities, spending the money instead on outings golf courses, luxury vacations and tickets to NBA games.
“It was just greed and it was your attempt to live a life you couldn’t afford,” US District Judge Sara Ellis told Stuart Nitzkin, 45, as she sentenced him on Thursday. , about five months after the man from Deerfield pleaded. guilty of electronic fraud in the case.
For five years from 2011, Nitzkin submitted false invoices and receipts to fund his expensive lifestyle while working as the executive director of the American Friends of the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled.
He spent the money on family vacations to places like Scotland, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas, but also on more mundane expenses like health club dues and car repairs, a- he admitted in his plea agreement.
Nitzkin’s attorneys Adam and Barry Sheppard, who requested probation, wrote in a memo ahead of the hearing that Nitzkin raised more than $ 11 million for the charity and that contributions surged with him at the bar.
But in asking for a long jail term, Assistant US Attorney Sheri Mecklenburg underlined in her own memo the harm Nitzken did by stealing from the charity.
“The money raised by the association paid not only for sporting events for children, but also for wheelchairs, therapeutic pools and other rehabilitation equipment,” Mecklenburg wrote. “(Nitzkin) has said over and over again that he will never harm children, but that’s exactly what he did.”
The Israeli sports center for the disabled, based in Ramat Gan, offers athletics, rehabilitation and more classes to some 2,500 children, according to its website. Several former students of the center have participated in the Paralympic Games and other major sporting events.