WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Ex-Fundraiser for US Rep. Grimm Arrested
Saturday, August 18, 2012 - 06:04 PM
An Israeli national who helped raise money for Rep. Michael Grimm's 2010 campaign was arrested on immigration fraud charges.
Ofer Biton, 39, is charged with falsifying his application to obtain a permanent visa in June 2010 under a federal program aimed attracting foreign entrepreneurs who invest $500,000 or more in a U.S. business, according to the criminal complaint obtained by WNYC.
Federal prosecutors allege that Biton misrepresented to immigration officials the source of the $500,000 he swore and attested was a legitimate business investment.
Biton was arraigned in Brooklyn federal court on Friday and sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center.
The FBI is also probing money donated to the Staten Island Congressman’s campaign by followers of a rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto.
Biton was formerly a top aide to Pinto, and acted as liaison between the New York City Republican potential donors in Pinto's congregation.
Some donors have since said that they broke campaign finance law by donating more money than allowed, or by funneling donations from foreigners who aren't legally allowed to give to U.S. candidates
Grimm, himself a former FBI agent, has consistently maintained he has complied with Federal campaign finance laws
The federal probe is being led by Anthony Capozzolo, chief of the Eastern District's public corruption squad.
With the Associated Press