March 27, 2008

UPDATED: More amazing adventures of Men with Gold Chains

The NYT has a long article on a Miami Beach company that has gotten a contract worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. government to supply Afghan government forces with ammunition, even though it is supposedly run by a 22-year-old. (Here's CEO Efraim Diveroli's MySpace profile.) Much of the ammo has apparently turned out to be junk scrounged from ex-Soviet, Albanian, or Chinese supplies.

What's not explained in the article is: "Who are these people?"

UPDATE: With lots of help from my alert readers, I've found out more about the clan involved. It's a great story, involving Michael Jackson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, "America's Rabbi," and America's largest palimony suit.

The NYT article does mention that Diveroli got his start working briefly for his uncle Bar-Kochba Botach's weapons shop, Botach Tactical.

Here's a fun discussion thread entitled " is by far the worst company I have ever dealt with...," where ex-customers of Botach discuss their experiences trying to get Botach to live up to its promises. You've got to give this family of arms dealers credit for courage -- I can see ripping off photographers wanting to buy Nikon cameras cheap, but routinely ripping off the kind of people who want to buy 30-round magazines for their M-16s (the featured item on Botach's website today), well, that takes some brass.

Botach Tactical operates out of an unmarked building in -- where else? -- South Central Los Angeles. From The Wave, LA's black newspaper:

The black community has a gun dealership in it.

Botach Tactical is a state-licensed and city-contracted bulk gun supply business in operation on the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and 43rd Place, it was learned this week.

The gun dealership, owned by Bartochba Botach, was discovered Friday by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and a group of Crenshaw area residents, who, responding to rumors, went to the unmarked storefront at 3423 W. 43rd Place and demanded entry.

Once inside, the group, which included the congresswoman’s daughter, Karen Titus, and activists Steve Cokely, Sandra Moore and Maurice Griffin, confronted Botach, who admitted to being a gun merchant.

“He said he is an international arms dealer with a government contract and that everything he does at his Crenshaw store is legal,” Moore said. “He told us he has a right to be in there, but we didn’t.

“He said, yeah, he sells guns and ammunition in bulk, but only to law enforcement and the military,” Moore added. “He said he is an Israeli and that he operates the gun business with his family. I asked him why he had to sell them in our community. I was angry, so I told him to go sell them in his own community.”

Moore described the site as the neighborhood’s former pawnshop, stripped of all identifying signage and fortified with thick, double-plated glass. “And dogs,” she said.

“He’s got several vicious dogs on the premises. The guy said he also owns Maverick’s Flat across the street from his gun store and he uses it as a warehouse, so we went over there, too, and I ran into a cop coming out with a box of bullets.”

Waters, Moore and company went directly to the office of their city representative, Councilman Bernard Parks, to report and protest the presence of the gun dealership. Parks spent the next two days researching the business in question and Tuesday reported the following:

Botach Tactical is a gun supply store that has allegedly been operated by Botach for 12 years. Parks said Botach has had other businesses in the community for at least 20 years.

The councilman said Botach has a current valid state license to sell arms and is contracted by the Los Angeles Police Commission to buy and sell guns, ammunition and arms-related materials in bulk through the Internet to police agencies around the country.

Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, who was the area’s city councilman for 12 years before Parks’ election, Tuesday disputed the 12-year operation of the gun dealership at the 43rd Place site.

“It has always been a pawnshop,” Ridley-Thomas said. “When did it turn into a gun store? How did it turn into a gun store? You can’t change the use of a building without proper notification, permits and public hearings.

“Where are the public notification documents?” Ridley-Thomas asked. “This is something the residents would have had to be apprised of in advance and be allowed to respond to before such a business began operating.

“A pawnshop showed up at that location shortly after the [1992] civil unrest and people didn’t like it there. It had always been a controversial site as a pawnshop. How did it shift from a pawnshop to a gun shop, which is something even more controversial?” [More]

In 2006, Luke Ford noticed this LA Daily News story about the SoCal arms dealer who appears to be the great-uncle of Efraim Diveroli and perhaps the father of Bar-Kochba Botach:

Makeup artist to the stars Judith Boteach thought she had found true love when it took four people to carry all of the flowers and jewelry lavished on her the day multimillionaire Yoav Botach proposed marriage.

Boteach said she learned a month after their Orthodox Jewish wedding ceremony that her groom hadn't obtained a California marriage license, but she believed in their future together.

"I loved him," said Boteach. "I trusted him and he kept telling me (the wedding license) wasn't necessary."

But their relationship ended unhappily, with Boteach kicked out of the couple's Beverlywood home in her nightgown. And she is now embroiled in a court battle for half of Botach's fortune - millions of dollars she claims he promised her should the couple ever split.

"This is the largest palimony case in American history," said Robert W. Hirsh, Boteach's attorney, who explained that his client cannot fight for alimony since she and Botach were never legally married.

According to court records, Botach co-owns 144 commercial and other properties in Los Angeles, as well as Botach Tactical, a nationwide distributor of police and military equipment. But Boteach is seeking access to financial documents to determine the defendant's assets. "We would not be surprised if his net worth is $700 million," Hirsh said.

Judith Boteach apparently now runs a Moroccan restaurant, BBC Cafe, in Beverly Hills. An LA Times restaurant review describes her as "Judith Boteach, the charismatic Moroccan American chef and co-owner and her partners Jay and Karine Kaplan and Gabriel Azoulay." I would guess she from Morocco's Jewish community.

Apparently, Yoav Botach is the father of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of the bestseller Kosher Sex and host of the Shalom in the Home reality TV show on TLC Network. He calls himself "America's Rabbi" on his website. So, this celebrity rabbi, who was ordained as Lubavitcher Hasidic but has since broken with them, would appear to be the uncle of young arms dealer Efraim Diveroli.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Michael Jackson (yes, that Michael Jackson) started an "infamous" charity in 2000 called Time for Kids that put on a benefit at Carnegie Hall but somehow never got any money to any kids. The money seems to have wound up with Shmuley's L'Chaim Oxford nonprofit, which is supposed to promote Jewish life at Oxford U. But it got into all kinds of legal and tax problems with the British government because it didn't seem to be doing any of that.

The treasurer of the dubious Michael Jackson charity was Shmuley's sister, Ateret Diveroli, who appears to be Efraim's mom.

But, I must say, at this point there are so many Botaches and Boteaches and Yoavs and Bar-Kochbas floating around that I may have well have gotten some of this wrong.

The VP and #2 officer of Diveroli's AEY the firm that got the huge contract from the taxpayers, is 25-year-old licensed masseuse David M. Packouz. He appears to be the son of Rabbi Kalman Packouz (a.k.a., Kenneth M. Packouz) of Miami Beach, author of How to Prevent an Intermarriage. Rabbi Kalman is Executive Director of Aish HaTorah Jerusalem Fund.

There's been a lot of speculation over how young Diveroli got this lucrative contract. One common suggestion is that perhaps he's a big Republican campaign donor.

Yet, the only person mentioned in this posting who has contributed to a Presidential candidate over the last decade, according to, is pawnshop owner turned merchant of death Yoav Botach, who gave $1,000 to John Edwards last year.

Overall, it just sounds like a whole family full of self-starters.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

"Who are these people?"

To even ask such a question leads inescapably to the Holocaust.

Anonymous said...

"Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed."

Its astonishing that we bought ammo that is 40 years old. That wouldn't even be near reliable.

Does this kid (22!) "know" somebody high up? This is terrible, I'd expect Al-Qaeda to have better munitions.

Anonymous said...

What is this guy's ethnicity? Hispanic of some kind? Efraim is common hispanic name.

Anonymous said...

The Men with Gold Chains are not particularly interesting Steve. Just more scam artists.

Today Wilders released "Fitna" on the internet ( and it's incendiary. AQ will have to respond, of course. The film itself is devastating. Because instead of fairly trivial men with gold chains (who only seek to cheat people), it features Muslims who seek to kill and dominate. And to a shocking degree, already have in Europe.

There will always be Men with Gold Chains. Sharia in the Netherlands? Or Minnesota for that matter? That is something entirely different.

Funny how things move. It's quite likely an obscure film on the Internet (it's quite explosive btw in it's effectiveness) could be the equivalent of some inept assassin in Belgrade.

Anonymous said...

Efraim is common hispanic name.

Maybe in a Sephardic ghetto.

Anonymous said...

Our own dear British govt has tried to stab our soldiers in the back by purchasing Soviet 12.7mm ammunition to use in the M2 .50 cal machine gun.

The consequence is that the guns jam frequently, 12.7mm is very similar to .cal - but not quite the same.

But not to worry at least the 12.7mm ammo is much cheaper.

The obvious solution would be to go all the way and buy the 12.7mm machine gun. But we wont do that because they are standard in the US military and NATO generally, hence we reap the logistical advantages of common guns, spares and......ammunition!

Anonymous said...

I shoot guns every so often. That ammo in the picture is 7.62x54mm rifle ammunition. I have thousands of rounds of the copper colored ammo shown in the NYT picture. Some of it was manufactured in the early 70's and shoots just fine. It doesn't go bad--IF it is stored properly. I store my stuff in airtight, moisture controlled ammo cans. The copper colored ammo looks fine. The communist bloc 7.62x54 ammo comes sealed in metal tins. The mere fact that it is old doesn't mean much. I've shot the same ammo from the USSR that was made in the 1940's, and it shot fine. You just need to properly clean out your rifle after shooting it because the ammo can cause rust. It's usually understood to be corrosive.

The golden-brass colored ammo is corroded. I wouldn't let that garbage near me. That's what I'm assuming is Chinese made. Deals involving Chinese military hardware as far as I know, are shady dealings. That's something to look into.

Anonymous said...

1/ I went through the article and the other link. Sorry, no gold chains.

2/ If the Pentagon has a zero inspection policy and seemingly an unenforced qualification system, bad bullets for Afghans would be the least of their worries.

3/ 'does this kid know somebody higher up?'. Could be. But don't attribute to venality that which can be equally explained by utter incompetence.

Anonymous said...

The guy is probably (99% sure) a Jew.

Anonymous said...

Who are these people?

Better not say. I can tell you what they are, though: vibrant.

Anonymous said...

What is this guy's ethnicity? Hispanic of some kind? Efraim is common hispanic name.

Well the young crook's uncle and mentor is named "Bar-Kochba", which seems pretty distinctive. Perhaps it's common in Guatemala or maybe Peru...

Anonymous said...

Is the David M. Packouz kid related to Rabbi Kalman Packouz? The Rabbi is listed as now living in Miami and having nine kids. He wrote a book, "How to Stop an Intermarriage."

Anonymous said...

David Packouz wants to go into the music business...just like Ashley Dupre, Spitzer's prostitute. Here is Packouz's myspace

Anonymous said...

He is likely of Italian Jewish origin.
Diveroli = Di Veroli

"Di Veroli is one of approximately 105 vendors, all of whom are licensed to sell souvenirs at stands in front of Rome’s most important monuments - and all of whom, except for one, are Jewish.

Other ambulant vendors, like Di Porto, carry trays of trinkets but are not licensed to set up stalls. All of these vendors, too, except for one, are Jewish."

Darayvus said...

Oy, scandal for the goyim...

I do want to know from which archaeological dig he got this ammo and who else was involved. I can't believe a 23 year old managed this con alone.

And he's gonna get a book deal and a bigshot Hollywood movie, mark me.

Anonymous said...

Come on guys, is this hard? Someone who doesn't want his name on a government contract (foreign citizen, convicted felon, current government official) set this guy up to run a front company.

Read this kid's myspace page, he couldn't organize a mixer with the Tri Delt without adult supervision.

He's not the one who made the big money, he's just the sucker who gets his picture in the New York Times while the brains of the outfit are making quick travel plans to non-extraditing countries.

Anonymous said...

Seems like people have been hanged for less.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least his family is socially conservative.

Avigail Diveroli (who I assume is family), writes, "When a woman dresses modestly, her entire mindset is different. A girl who dresses in a modest way is less likely to act promiscuously and inappropriately. When a woman dresses in a way that leaves nothing to the imagination, she is inviting chauvinistic slurs and whistles. When a woman chooses to wear a tube top instead of a nice T-shirt, she is also, perhaps unknowingly, sacrificing her dignity."

Efriam is possibly the nephew of Michael Jackson's rabbi, who was involved in charity fraud.,2933,49808,00.html

Anonymous said...

Spelling the last names differently is an advantage because it prevents others from doing thorough background checks on the players. If Mr Botach has a criminal conviction, then just switch to using Mr Boteach. No problems.

Also, one of the most disturbing aspects to the immigration process is that the US government allows someone to change their name when they are granted US Citizenship, according to former INS agent Michael Cutler. So someone with a criminal conviction in their home country can get a clean slate by changing their name.

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha!!

The NY Times had several reporters working on this story probably for weeks, and they barely skimmed the surface.

Now Steve and a few of his friends have cracked the whole case WIDE OPEN in just 8 hours or so!

Score: NYT, 1; ISteve & Co., 14

This is even *better* than most of the recent Obama stuff!

Anonymous said...

I believe I may have recently worked for cohorts of these clowns in Miami Beach. I am a management consultant and spent time working for prominent members of the Orthodox sect in Miami Beach. Generally speaking the men were devoid of traditional ethics but the women were kind and reasonable. It was a gender divide that I had never before experienced. I even had one individual, who was a Rabbi, tell me that it was okay for a Jew to trick a gentile. Evidently, this was the reason he felt comfortable in mistreating so many decent gentiles.

My other observation of the Miami Beach Orthodox group was the utter lack of talent they displayed. I am non-religious but a significant part of my heritage is reform Jew and they are a talented bunch. The Orthodox of Miami Beach were, generally speaking, anything but talented. Those with whom I interacted had big money but how they got it remains a semi mystery to me - for they knew not even the difference between a debit and a credit. The only thing I did notice was that they never let a nickel leave the sect.

To think that a young kid could land a $300mm deal would be hard to believe except for the knowledge that many in the Orthodox community would do anything for such a deal.

Maybe Arnon Milchan, the guy who owns the Regency production house, is behind the deal. He is an Israeli arms trader despite any denials.

Anonymous said...

That's the first time I've seen anyone with "Bar-Kochba" as a first name. His namesake, Simon Bar-Kochba led a Jewish revolt against Rome in the second century, kicked the Roman occupiers out, and held off the Roman Empire for three years. The Romans had to bring troops in from as far away as Britain to put down the revolt, and they suffered tremendous casualties before finally crushing the revolt.

After that, the Romans were so fed up that they re-named the place "Palestine" after the Jews' old enemies, the Philistines.

- Fred

Anonymous said...

This is great reading Steve. This is what journalism should be like all the time. Just imagine the impact that newspapers could have if they bothered to fulfil their self-appointed mission (all the news that's fit to print) instead of shilling for extreme causes.

I recall some Baptist pastor fawning about the "Kosher Sex" book. Just shows what suckers Baptists are about anything Jewish, as if that label carries God's automatic approvement with it. Sort of like the Holy Water thing.

BTW, we really need to have 2 pictures of you posted in your blog: one in underpants and another in your bathrobe. I would'nt go any further than that.

Anonymous said...

I have a vague recollection of purchasing something from Botach Tactical many years ago.

Anonymous said...

"“And dogs,” she said.

“He’s got several vicious dogs on the premises." So probably not Muslim.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Unknown said...

Brilliant posting, great detective work by all.

Anonymous said...

Michael Diveroli was married to Ateret Diveroli, but appears to have divorced her according to this court document.

Anonymous said...

Efraim's middle name is Erza, information found from searching here:

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Schmuley Boteach is a tv agony aunt rabbi to whom the word "controversial" has been attached both in the States and the UK.
He has an interesting business history. And is also a confidante of Michael Jackson.

Wonder if he is related to this lot.

Anonymous said...

Luke Ford?
Isn't he that porno-guy?

AmericanGoy said...

Bang up job, good show etc etc.

I also blogged about this, and was blown away that the media is showing only the tip of the iceberg, 10% (if that) of the story.

Anonymous said...

You are guys are sick people!!!!!!
Why are you guys wasting your time trying to dig up information on Efraim (aey) and his family? Obviously it’s none of your dam business. Do you have nothing better to do then to find out his whole families history. Im sure if I looked up your life history it would be much more juicier and maybe it should make headlines. Do you guys find joy out of someone’s misery? Leave him alone. He is 22 years old and leave his family out of it. Please Search things that are useful.

Anonymous said...

I'll just bet Efraim and his 'people' are strong supporters of Israel. I'll also bet that they are friends with folks at the IRS and as a result their books are never audited for tax evasion. Never.

I'd further bet that Alan Dershowitz is about to call me anti-Semetic. In such case I could only say Viva Hammas.

Anonymous said...

What a great story you've discovered. Sometimes, reality is more unreal than fiction.
Funny how the Israeli connection keeps cropping up repeatedly--led to the downfall of Governors Elliott Spitzer and James McGreevey--both downfalls were catalyzed by Israeli guys!!