Psychiatrist Held for Scamming NII

Police say leading physician sold fake disability certificates to yeshiva students.

A leading psychiatrist was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of selling dozens of false disability certificates to yeshiva students, then taking a cut of the spoils after they defrauded the National Insurance Institute of millions of shekels.

The physician was detained after returning from a vacation abroad, and will remain in police custody until the end of the week. His name and position remain under gag order.

Police believe the suspect helped the yeshiva students steal around NIS 2.5 million over the past two years. He now faces charges of forgery and fraud under aggravated circumstances.

Authorities were led to the physician after first apprehending an ultra-Orthodox man suspected of serving as the middleman in the scam. Both suspects are suspected of taking a cut of the profits.

Police have questioned dozens of yeshiva students over the past few weeks. The psychiatrist at first told investigators that he had nothing to do with the affair, maintaining that he had issued the certificates based on his professional opinion of the students' conditions.

Later in his interrogation, the physician chose to remain silent.

After reviewing the evidence, Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court judge Rafi Aranya said, "There is a reasonable suspicion, and perhaps more than that, that the suspect was involved in the offenses attributed to him."