Slain Brooklyn Landlord Took $3.6M From Business, New Missing Persons Law Proposed - The Jewish Voice
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Slain Brooklyn Landlord Took $3.6M From Business, New Missing Persons Law Proposed

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(UJO) Executive Director Rabbi David Niederman (pictured). The bill sponsors State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assembly Member Joe Lentol, and Assembly member Maritza Davila.
(UJO) Executive Director Rabbi David Niederman (pictured). The bill sponsors State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assembly Member Joe Lentol, and Assembly member Maritza Davila.
It has recently been revealed that financially troubled Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark took out almost $3.6 million from his own business in order to pay off personal debts prior to his January 2 abduction and subsequent murder, recent financial records reveal.

According to the New York Daily News, the 39-year-old Stark was in severe debt at the time of his murder. Financial records now show that Stark used cashier’s checks to withdraw money from his business, South Side Associates.

South Side had borrowed the money from a bank in order to keep a Stark-owned Williamsburg property afloat during a bankruptcy proceeding, the NYDN reported.

South Side trustee Jonathan Flaxer told the NYDN that the cashier’s checks obtained by Stark were marked as a “customer withdrawal.” Five customer withdrawals were taken out from the account, and the withdrawals totaled $267,101.07, during the month before Stark’s murder.

Furthermore, the month before that roughly $1 million was withdrawn from the South Side account by Stark.

Between June of 2011 and December of 2013 a total of $3.6 million was withdrawn from the business account. According to court filings, the missing money was not detected until after Stark’s death because the bank statements were reportedly tampered with in order to conceal the withdrawals.

According to the NYDN, South Side had been lent the money by a bank in order to keep a 74-unit Williamsburg property that Stark co-owned running during a bankruptcy proceeding. The funds were not supposed to be used for any other purposes.

But in federal bankruptcy filings, Flaxer said Stark “obtained cashier’s checks made out to a multitude of individuals, entities and law firms to pay for personal debts or for use in other real estate transactions.”

The court filing made by Flaxer indicates that some of the money has been returned to the account, although the details on how that occurred were not revealed To the media. In addition, Flaxer has requested a subpoena so that Stark’s emails can be reviewed in order to discover where some of the missing money wound up.

Flaxer’s filing say he’s gotten some of the cash back. “Over $375,000 has already been returned,” and “several parties have agreed to return approximately $240,000 of the missing funds,” the filing says.

Stark was abducted in Williamsburg on Jan. 2. His body was found on Long Island the next day. No arrests have been made so far, but police are focusing on a contractor whom Stark owed $20,000.

In another development, it has been revealed that Stark’s body underwent an autopsy before his family could request an exemption for religious purposes. In light of this, New York, state and local leaders announced new legislation on Friday, March 7, named the Expedited Missing Persons’ Identification Act, which aims at preventing such instances, Vosizneias has reported.

According to Vosizneias, the ideafor this legislation was first brought to light by Rabbi David Niederman Executive Director of (UJO) United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg. If passed, the Expedited Missing Persons’ Identification Act would amend the law to require that the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services “promptly provide all law enforcement agencies within the state with personal descriptions and other identifying data for unidentified deceased persons.

In the current process, after the coroner examines the body the identifying information is sent to DCJS with no further mandated actions,” Vosizneias explained.

The legislation will require DCJS to automatically send this information to all law enforcement agencies in the state, allowing agencies to compare the information to their files of missing persons.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Daniel Squadron, NYC Councilman Stephen Levin, and Assembly Member Joe Lentol.

“The lapse in time between finding an unidentified deceased person and matching them with an identity is crucial to an investigation. The legislation will take direct aim at efficiently streamlining this process for both the DCJS and local police precincts,” said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol.

“Any modifications to the law that improve the criminal justice system are welcomed with open arms, and as Chair of the Codes Committee I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.”

“When families suffer tragedies, they have to know that everything possible will be done to inform them promptly and move the investigation forward,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron.

“This bill will help families find closure, while streamlining the investigative process. I’m proud to join Assemblyman Lentol, Rabbi Niederman, and the community in pushing this issue forward.”


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