Harold Tischler, the father of 21-year old state Senate candidate Abraham Tischler and 20-year old Assembly candidate Moshe Tischler, is under indictment for conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and mail and wire fraud among other charges, City & State has discovered.
An Oct. 2011 indictment brought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleges that Harold Tischler (a.k.a. Hershy), a housing developer, played a role in a multi-million dollar scheme devised by Earl Seth David (a.k.a. Rabbi Avrahom David), a private practice attorney, who from 1996 to 2009 charged clients up to $30,000 to adjust their immigration status by filing numerous fraudulent applications and petitions with the Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services showing that his clients were being “sponsored” by an employer.
One of those employers was Harold Tischler (spelled “Tishler” in the indictment), who in exchange for agreeing to sponsor his clients for employment is alleged to have received kickbacks from David in the form of cash. In reality, according to the indictment, these sponsors never had the intention or ability to employ David’s clients.
Joseph Tempelberg, who is managing both brothers’ campaigns, confirmed that Harold Tischler is under indictment.
“Harold Tischler, I’ve known him for a number of years, we’ve prayed in the same synagogue together and I’m surprised that he’s being accused of such stuff,” Tempelberg said.
While Moshe Tischler could not be reached for comment, his brother, Abraham, said that his father’s legal troubles are a non-issue for his campaign and a product of his opponent, Deputy New York City Comptroller Simcha Felder, playing the “same old political games.”
“He’s not part of the campaign,” Abraham said of his father. “He’s a very busy person. He deals with building violations. Last year alone he saved five million dollars on behalf of his clients. That’s what he does, that’s what he’s good at.”
Abraham said that his father’s legal predicament was a result of the federal government trying to recoup the money that his father had saved his clients, because the government “needs more money for spending.”
Ever since the Tischler brothers announced their candidacies, there has been speculation as to the role their father is playing in their campaigns. Since both brothers are enrolled in college, several observers familiar with local politics conjectured that their campaign was being financed at least in part by family money.
However, Tempelberg said that he told both brothers before they announced their candidacy that he wanted their family’s financial involvement in the campaign to be minimal.
Numerous calls to Harold Tischler for comment went unreturned.
According to campaign finance filings, Harold has contributed $1,580 to Abraham’s Senate campaign, a bit more than 10 percent of the $11,070 he has reported raising to date. Harold is not listed as a donor to Moshe’s Assembly campaign (whose campaign finance reported is filed under the name Mitchell Tischler) against longtime incumbent Assemblyman Dov Hikind, although Harold’s wife, Linda, is listed as having contributed $500.
In total, Moshe reports having raised $2,089, $1,289 of which he personally donated to the campaign. Abraham is also the biggest donor to his own campaign, having contributed $4,460 so far. Both sons list Harold Tischler’s company, Expeditors, under their employment information on their respective Facebook pages.
Calls to Felder went unreturned and a spokesperson for Hikind declined to comment.
Since the release of the Aug. 2011 indictment, Earl Seth David has pleaded guilty to two count of conspiracy and agreed to forfeit at least $2,500,000. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. According to an April 2012 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, 13 of the 27 defendants charged in connection with the scheme have pleaded guilty.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office said that Harold Tischler has not yet entered a plea and a trial date has not yet been set.
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