LAKEWOOD, NEW JERSEY- Authorities raided three houses in Lakewood Tuesday night in a continued effort to crack down on residents suspected of defrauding government-assistance programs.
The arrests come on the heels of a massive bust on Monday morning that led to the arrests of eight Lakewood residents — four married couples — who allegedly bilked the government out of $1.3 million in illegal benefits.
Arrested were Yitzchok and Sora Kanarek of Brisk Lane; Chaim and Liatt Ehrman, of Twin Oaks Drive; and William and Faigy Friedman, of Leigh Drive, the website said.
The latest residents arrested in the raids are accused of obtaining at least $500,000 in illegal benefits from programs such as Medicaid, SNAP food assistance, HUD and Social Security, according to law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the raids.
Yitzchok Kanarek is the former rabbi of a special-needs school that closed n 2015 due to a $295,000 tax lien, the Press said.
Faigy Friedman is the registered agent of Pay-Per Payroll Services, LLC, a company that does payroll for small businesses.
Chaim Ehrman owns three businesses – Buy it By Cases, The Jewelers List and True Hue, a cosmetics company.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said his office gave “clear guidance” to the Lakewood community in 2015 on “what is considered financial abuse of these programs.”
“Financial assistance programs are designed to alleviate family hardships for those truly in need,” Coronato said in a statement issued on Monday. “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.”
He warned in the statement that more arrests would be coming.
The raids were part of a sting involving the FBI, state authorities, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
“We are sending a message to this community that the party is over,” a law enforcement source told Star-Ledger columnist Mark Di Ionno.
Monday’s sweeps included the takedown of Lakewood Rabbi Zalmen Sorotzkin, and his wife Tzipporah; the rabbi’s brother Mordechai Sorotzkin, 35, and his wife, Rachel, 32; Shimon Nussbaum, 42, and his wife, Yocheved, 40; and Mordechai Breskin, 37, and his wife, Jocheved, 35, authorities said.
Zalmen Sorotzkin and his wife, Tzipporah, were accused of taking $338,642 in Medicaid, SNAP, HUD and Social Security benefits between January 2009 and April 2014.
Mordechai Breskin and his wife, Jocheved, were accused in state court of collecting $585,662 in Medicaid, SNAP, HUD and Social Security benefits between January 2009 thru December 2014. They were charged in state court.
The federal complaint unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court accuses Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin, who authorities say earned more than $1 million in combined income in 2012 and 2013, of dramatically underreporting their family income on a false application they submit to the state’s FamilyCare Medicaid program. Authorities said they defrauded the government of approximately $96,000 from 2011 thru 2014.
The Nussbaums are accused in a separate complaint of having controlled numerous bank accounts opened under the names of relatives to cover personal expenses. The complaint says the Nussbaums, who earned approximately $1.8 million in 2013, exploited $178,000 from Medicaid, Section 8 housing and SNAP food benefits.
Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin and Shimon and Yocheved Nussbaum each face one count of conspiracy to steal government funds in federal court, authorities said. That charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
The couples charged in federal court were released on $100,000 bond and their travel limited to New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, while the couples charged in state court were released without bail, but had to surrender their passports.
Released for free (on tax payers dollars) without any accountability or supervision thanks to NJ Bail Reform.
Accused defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty
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STOP RELEASING ACCUSED DEFENDANTS WITHOUT ANY ACCOUNTABILITY OR SUPERVISION!