Four prominent Jewish couples from Lakewood, New Jersey, led by a powerful Rabbi, are all now incarcerated after allegedly defrauding public welfare programs of more than $1.3 million in benefits.
Prosecutors said that Rabbi Zalmen Sorotzkin, the Rabbi of Congregation Lutzk in Lakewood, was the mastermind of the Hebrew art of devotion in this case.
The official charges state that the Schlomo in this case, Rabbi Sotozkin, intentionally concealed significant income that would have made them ineligible for the wide variety of assistance programs in which they had enrolled.
In doing so he hoped to collect millions of tiny shekels to be able to purchase many Judenhuts for his collection.
Also involved in the crime were Rachel and Mordechai (((Sorotzkin))), who each now face federal charges, as do (((Yocheved))) and Shimon (((Nussbaum))) .
The Sorotzkins illegally obtained state Medicaid benefits that they did not qualify for, while the Nussbaums allegedly did the same with Medicaid, housing and food assistance benefits.
In a separate case involving the suspects, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office filed state charges against Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin and Zalmen and Tzipporah Sorotzkin. The relationship between the two Sorotzkin families was not immediately clear according to the authorities.
Each of the couples intentionally underreported income to collect Medicaid, food, housing and Social Security benefits.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said, "Financial assistance programs are designed to alleviate family hardships for those truly in need. My office gave clear guidance and notice to the Lakewood community in 2015 of what is considered financial abuse of these programs. Those who choose to ignore those warnings by seeking to illegally profit on the backs of taxpayers will pay the punitive price of their actions.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and several State Law Enforcement Agencies executed the search warrants and arrests in the Lakewood area.
Four of the suspects are expected to appear in federal court in Trenton next week. The others will appear in New Jersey Superior Court in Ocean County.