Kabbalah Center head charged with defrauding cancer patient
"She asked them to help her get better, and Rosenberg said that whoever donates a serious sum of money to the center can achieve a full recovery," Zonis recalled. "I immediately offered to donate around NIS 5,000, but we were told that we have to donate 'a sum that will be painful for us' and not an easy expenditure and we were asked to donate $30,000."
The couple borrowed money from relatives and friends and tapped their long-term savings to pay the center by credit card, in two installments. In return, the couple was promised, members of the center would pray for them. Leah Zonis was told she could buy a bottle of holy water, which would aid her recovery if she drank it.
"He told us that the previous donation we made was apparently not enough and that we have to donate more," Boris Zonis explained. "We had no money by then so we turned to Leah's mother, a woman who had worked hard all her life, and it was she who agreed to give us her savings - some $25,000. They specifically told us that this time when we give the money, Leah will get complete health, and again they promised to read from the 'Zohar' book specially for her."
"The woman's condition continued to deteriorate," the couple's lawyer, Haim Cohen, charged Sunday, "and instead of telling the truth, that these were empty promises, they took more money and cheated with a medication that is just a bottle of water."
Not long before his wife died, Zonis asked Youdkevitch for financial help. He says he was directed to an unknown donor who was asked to help him and gave him $5,000. Despite that, Leah realized shortly before her death that she had been the victim of fraud and asked her husband to go to the police."
She was a sick person, on the verge of despair. And in that state a patient grabs at any straw to be saved. They were our straw until we realized that we had been exploited," according to Zonis.
Disgusted, yes. Surprised? No.