Lakewood Welfare Fraud – Millions of Dollars – Arrests


WATCH: WELFARE RAID IN LAKEWOOD Lakewood couples arrested this morning to appear in court | 0:44

LAKEWOOD — A prominent rabbi and several others were arrested in simultaneous federal and state raids Monday morning on charges related to alleged public assistance fraud on a scale rarely seen before in New Jersey, according to law enforcement sources.

Rabbi Zalmen Sorotzkin, who runs the synagogue Congregation Lutzk and businesses linked to the synagogue, was taken into custody Monday and is facing charges of theft by deception in Ocean County Superior Court.

The investigation found an alleged scheme that “rival the most sophisticated of financial frauds,” the source said.

The Breskins are being charged with second-degree theft by deception for allegedly collecting $585,662 in public assistance benefits they weren’t entitled to, the prosecutor said in the statement.

Zalmen and Tzipporah Sorotzkin face the same charges for allegedly collecting $338,642 in Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8 housing subsidies and Supplemental Security Income, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The Nussbaums allegedly under-reported their incomes and failed to disclose money they received from a number of companies in order to collect Medicaid, Section 8 housing assistance and food stamps between 2011 and 2014, according to a federal complaint signed by FBI Special Agent Michael Farina.

In that time, the Nussbaums allegedly collected $178,762 in public assistance they weren’t entitled to get. Read the full complaints at the bottom of the page.

The complaint against Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin accuses them of also under-reporting their incomes to collect Medicaid. Rachel Sorotzkin allegedly failed to report $1.5 million she received from a limited liability company when signing up for public assistance.

In the complaint, Farina wrote that Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin received more than $96,000 in Medicaid funds they shouldn’t have claimed.

Both couples face separate counts of conspiring to steal government funds, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office. The conspiracy counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain from the offense.

Also arrested in the sting headed by the FBI, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and other agencies were Zalmen’s wife, Tzipporah Sorotzkin, and married couple Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin. The three also face state criminal charges, according to a source close to the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. Their first appearance before a Superior Court judge is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

EXCLUSIVE: SCHI overcharged Lakewood, others by $340K

Four others were arrested Monday and are being taken to Trenton to face federal charges in U.S. District Court. They are Mordechai Sorotzkin, brother of Zalmen, and his wife, Rachel Sorotzkin, and Shimon and Yocheved Nussbaum. View the map below for the locations of the homes raided or attempted to be raided Monday.

“Financial assistance programs are designed to alleviate family hardships for those truly in need,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato in a statement. “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.”

Federal and state agents fanned out to the four Lakewood homes early Monday morning, mostly in black, unmarked cars. FBI agents repeatedly knocked on Rabbi Sorotzkin’s door just before 6 a.m, to no immediate answer. But he was in custody, along with the seven others, by 7 a.m.

Around the same time on Hadassah Lane, agents waited with the Nussbaums in their townhouse while the couple found someone to watch their children, one of whom was seen packing suitcases and boxes into a van parked in front of the house. The couple was then placed in a black law enforcement van.

The Lakewood residents are accused of taking advantage of multiple public assistance programs to defraud the government of around $1.3 million over the past few years, according to law enforcement sources.

“The investigation to date has found that government benefits fraud and income tax evasion in the Lakewood community is widespread,” said the source.

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10 thoughts on “Lakewood Welfare Fraud – Millions of Dollars – Arrests

  1. Of course one should not condemn all Orthodox Jews because of the behavior of those who have been indicted, but it characterizes the duplicity of the Lakewood Jews attitude of moral and religious superiority, saying that they are the practitioners of Authentic Torah true Judaism and that non-Haredi Jews have their beliefs founded on garbage.

  2. It seems to me that the sole point of this blog is to troll the net for negative stories about Orthodox Jews and then post them here. Honestly, what is the difference between this rag sheet and other racist and anti-semitic sites? I’m not denying that these incidents and/or crimes are real. I’m just not understanding why you see the need to highlight them. Does it make you feel good about yourselves to show that Orthodox Jews may be no better than yourselves? Some of your stories may have been picked up by hate sights, and influenced others toward violence against Jews, which is occurring daily. Unfortunately for you, these haters do not discriminate against different forms of Judaism. They are equal opportunity haters. Is this really what you want?

    • Joseph,

      “Does it make you feel good about yourselves to show that Orthodox Jews may be no better than yourselves?”

      Why compare to to the blog author? And really, “NO BETTER?”
      In fact, millions of secular Jews and non-Jews are FAR BETTER than these “Orthodox” criminals.
      Most American citizens are better than these phony religionists who feel their pious facade makes them better than us.

      YES, it makes people feel GOOD, really good… sweet joy of naches good, to see these parasites of American society – who claim to be doing “God’s will” – do the perp walk.

      Watching a Madoff, or any deserving criminal (of any culture/religion) get arrested is joy too.
      But watching FALSE PIETY take a stroll to the police station is especially entertaining.

      Hold that Torah high!
      Thou shalt not steal!
      Hypocrisy on parade!

    • Your point is well taken and part of a greater dilemma. Is it better to keep this quiet than to acknowledge the problems, confront them, shed light on them? Or, is it better to see the world in terms of those who want to hide behind the ideals of being non Moserim? Do you know how many hate sites there are that “identify” with the ultra-orthodox anti-zionist groups? They see themselves as “brethren to a cause”. We have seen some information on Gertler which was spot-on. Unfortunately it was on a horribly anti-Semitic site and the premise of that site is that our community is one of crime, fraud, etc. That site even premises that not enough of us were killed by the Nazis if even the entire history is “real.” It was unfortunate that the author of that site was so spot-on with the Gertler information. You see, in our view if we can’t put all of this information in one place and acknowledge it for what it is we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are acquiescing to the many being judged by the few. We believe that only by acknowledging our shortcomings can we become a better, stronger and more cohesive community. The alternative is to hide your head in the sand as if nothing is really a problem.

  3. One thing is forsure. His great grandfather whom he was named after and was the (REAL) rov of Lutzk is turning over in his grave from this!

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