Boaz Yona, the fugitive CEO of the now bankrupt Heftsiba Construction Company is still on the lam and is suspected to be hiding out in Romania. This person, who has allegedly defrauded thousands of home buyers out of millions of dollars, disappeared two weeks ago after the police issued warrants for his arrest.
Reports now indicate that Yona has been seen in restaurants in Bucharest, in the company of a well known Romanian ‘businessman’. In one report a local factory owner told police that Yona was negotiating for the purchase of his factory. The man said he saw the notices and contacted police.
Israeli news programs have had a field day during the past few weeks showing scenes of distraught apartment purchasers being locked out of the construction company’s main offices in Tel Aviv. Private property purchasers werenâ€™t the only ones taken by this character, and large contracting companies, including Electra, have been fleeced for millions. Electra, who contracted to supply central and split-level air conditioning units to Heftsiba apartment purchasers claims that Yona owes them more than 170 million New Shekels ( $40,476,000).
Heftsiba’s empire began to crumble several weeks ago when rumors began circulating that the company was reneging on promises made to many of it’s subcontractors who were doing the actual construction of the many building projects bearing the company’s name. The photos afterwards of heart broken purchasers standing on the balconies of half-finished apartment buildings in Jerusalem and other cities remind many of a similar incident that occurred during the 1980’s when another well known builder, Abraham Ghindi, defrauded hundreds of home buyers in cities like Netanya, Raanana, and other locations when he used monies collected from apartment purchasers to speculate on stock exchanges in Tel Aviv and abroad.
Ghindi’s company also went bankrupt, and many people lost considerable sums of money, most of which was never recovered. After trying to escape being indicted for these crimes, Ghindi eventually returned to Israel where he stood trial for his crimes. He never went to prison as he later committed suicide by immolating himself in his own swimming pool.
The examples of the actions of both Abraham Ghindi and Boaz Yona indicate a serious need to re-examine the way that people purchase new apartments from large construction companies with whom they put their trust and their life savings. Owing one’s own property is very important in Israel; as for most people, it is the only way for them to survive the fluctuating economic tribulations which are a day to day reality in the country. It is also the only way one can survive on the ridiculously small pensions that people receive form both the National Insurance Institute and from their places of employment (if they are lucky enough to have this benefit, that is).
No doubt, Boaz Yona will eventually be apprehended as the Israel Police have already been in contact with Romanian authorities on this matter. And as the old saying goes: “you can run, but you can’t hide”. Boaz is still running, and will one day have to “pay the piper”…
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