My friend needed the money for a home purchase he was making...and all of a sudden, the money never materialized in Israel. We went through a rather harrowing week, as the money "disappeared" and we were told the company was in financial distress. Luckily, he managed to get his money back, though the change company collapsed and others lost their money.
Seems that nothing has changed, and this past week millions of dollars that people were trying to transfer via "Cheerfully Changed" company have disappeared and the company has vanished.
Many olim relied on this service to transfer monthly pay checks from the US in dollars, to Shekels in Israel, as well as large transfer of funds for home purchases and investments.
Haaretz has the tip of the iceberg:
The possible collapse of a financial services company heavily frequented by English-speaking immigrants has many scrambling to recoup money entrusted with the firm, in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars.I personally used a service like this once over 15 years ago, and decided at the time, it was best to use a real bank. It was too much of a risk for me to use a service like this, and I hope people stay away from these services in the future.
Branches of Cheerfully Changed in Jerusalem and surrounding cities have been closed since last week and many customers say they have been unable to reach a representative to inquire about their accounts.
In addition, a statement posted online and comments by former employees who said the company's entire staff was let go this week have spurred concerns the company is bankrupt. According to some estimates, the losses could amount to millions of dollars.
Jerusalem-based lawyer A. Amos Fried said he is currently speaking to dozens of people interested in taking legal action against Cheerfully Changed.
"Some have different approaches than others. Some are thinking more in terms of mediation, other are leaning more toward going to court. There's a lot than can be done," he told Anglo File yesterday.
Fried, a Chicago native, said he estimates that millions of dollars may have been lost. "I spoke to a group of, say about 20 people and I would imagine the average loss among them was about at least $50,000 a person. Some people had much more, we're talking about people [who had] $120,000. They transferred $120,000 to Cheerfully Changed and decided to keep it there for a little while - and now there's a big question mark if they'll ever see this money again." (Haaretz)
Learn to Shoot at Caliber-3 with top Israeli Anti-Terror Experts!
Follow the Muqata on Twitter.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד