A 26-year-old Israeli woman was arrested on fraud charges in Florida last week after she allegedly tried to cash checks worth $1 million in the name of her 77-year-old husband, whom she married four months earlier.
Lin Helena Halfon faces charges of money laundering, organized fraud, and exploitation of an elderly person. She was ordered held on $1 million bond. It is unclear if she has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to court records, Halfon is accused of attempting to cash a $1 million cashier’s check at a Tampa Amscot Branch on November 7. She allegedly told bank employees that she was going to use the money to buy a yacht in Miami with her husband, Richard Rappaport. But because Rappaport’s name was on the check and he wasn’t there, the bank declined to process the transaction.
Halfon offered bank employees $100,000 to process the transaction, which is more than double Amsot’s standard fee, but they still refused, the arrest affidavit states. Halfon purportedly left and returned a short time later with the same request, only this time she produced three separate checks for $333,333. Amscot employees once again refused to cash the checks, but made copies of her passport, U.S. visa, and the checks. They then informed the police.
When police contacted Rappaport about the checks, he reportedly told them he believed it was a mistake and he’d ask his wife to return them. He wanted to give his wife the benefit of the doubt because he didn’t want her to be deported back to Israel, the affidavit states.
Investigators interviewed Halfon at her apartment on November 12. She purportedly told them she had mailed the checks to her sister in Israel after she had a fight with her husband. She said she would ask her sister to mail them back, according to the affidavit.
Halfon never returned the checks. On November 22, a man with an Orlando address cashed one of the checks for $333,333 at a business called CheckPros in Cateret, New Jersey, the affidavit indicates. The same man cashed a second check for the same amount at the same business five days later. It is unclear if this unnamed person has been charged in the case.
When contacted by an investigator on December 6, Rappaport said he had made arrangements with his wife to get the checks back the next week. He confirmed he’d never signed any of the three checks, enabling investigators to obtain a warrant the following day and order Wells Fargo to freeze the third check. Rappaport finally conceded that he was the victim of fraud and theft on December 10, and that led to Halfon’s arrest at Tampa International Airport on December 16.
Rappaport and Halfon reportedly got their marriage license in Hillsborough County on June 24. The document lists the date and location of their marriage as August 21 at a Sarasota County clerk’s office. Rappaport’s family wasn’t aware of the marriage, sources say.
South Florida Fraud Attorney
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