State Prosecutor Opposes Parole of Bank Embezzler Etti Alon

SPO argues, among other things, that Alon has only paid 0.05 percent of the fine levied on her after embezzling 250 million shekels from Trade Bank.

Revital Hovel
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Etti Alon in court, 2005.Credit: Moti Kimche
Revital Hovel

The State Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday appealed this week’s decision to parole high-profile bank embezzler Etti Alon, which would reduce her prison sentence by a third.

In July 2003, Alon was sentenced to 17 years in prison after being convicted in a scam that led to the collapse of the Trade Bank. A year before, she admitted embezzling about 250 million shekels ($64 million at today’s rate) from the bank to cover the gambling debts of her brother, Ofer Maximov, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Their father, Avigdor Maximov, received a six-year sentence and died a short time after his release in 2007. In March 2013, the parole board rejected a request by Etti Alon to have her sentence reduced by a third.

Among the reasons cited by the prosecutor’s office in its appeal against the parole board decision was that the cash Alon embezzled purportedly provided funds to organized crime groups, which were used in the commission of a large number of additional crimes and are still being used to this day.

The prosecutor’s office also noted that Alon had paid only 2,500 shekels of the 5 million shekel fine imposed upon her.

In addition, it has been found that Alon was declared bankrupt at her own request, a fact the prosecutor claims was not brought to the attention of the parole board.

“In practice, the failure to pay the full fine constitutes noncompliance with the punishment and a failure to repay society,” the prosecutor’s office said. “In addition, such conduct on the part of a prisoner constitutes an additional example of the prisoner’s capacity to act in a manipulative way and to create the false impression that she intends to pay her full fine.”

In its appeal, the prosecutor’s office asserted further that the parole board had erred in not placing sufficient weight on what they claimed was Alon’s high level of sophistication and capacity for manipulation, along with the specific mention in her court case judgment of poor character as reflected in her deeds, their sophistication and her concealment of what she had done. “Ultimately,” the prosecutor’s appeal states, “the total sum of the theft is astronomical and almost inconceivable, estimated at more than 254,199,600 shekels.”

In contrast, a prison director’s report from August 2014 noted that Alon had been a prisoner in the rehabilitation wing of the Neveh Tirza women’s prison for about three years, was employed at a printing plant in Holon, had enjoyed a series of furloughs, and experienced no disciplinary problems.

A psychological evaluation found that she acknowledged her offenses and expressed remorse for what she had done.

“She attributes her conduct to what began as a desire to protect her brother, and progressed to surrender and an inability to resist,” the psychology report wrote, “and she pinned the source of her behavior on the family values on which she was raised.”