Satmar, de Blasio and Food Stamps

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161222/williamsburg/satmar-hasidic-teitlebaum-raid-fbi-eastern-district

Satmar Leader Linked to Mayor Arrested For $30K Food-Stamp Fraud, Feds Say

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio who oversees government relations for a network of yeshivas was charged for running a $30,000 federal food-stamp scam, according to a criminal complaint.

Yitzchok Iziel (Isaac) Sofer was arrested by the FBI Thursday morning for filing false claims under the federal food subsidy, SNAP, between 2012 and 2016. He claimed poverty while at the same time taking out a life insurance policy in which he reported making $100,000 per year and having $600,000 in assets, Brooklyn federal prosecutors charged.

Sofer collected $30,516 in food stamps during that period, according to the federal complaint.

His arrest comes as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, the indictment stated, though prosecutors would not say if was related to a March raid of the Central United Talmudical Academy’s offices.

 

Read : https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161222/williamsburg/satmar-hasidic-teitlebaum-raid-fbi-eastern-district

The Satmar and de-Blasio…. A Match Made of?

 

 

FBI grills de Blasio’s Satmar pals in fundraising probe

Federal investigators are questioning leaders in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community in their expanding inquiry into Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising practices, multiple sources told The Post.

Rabbi and political fund-raiser Moishe Indig was questioned by FBI agents on Wednesday. Indig referred them to his attorney but agents seized one of his cellphones, the sources said.

“They told him, ‘It’s all about Bill,’ and they want more information from him,” said one source close to Indig, a de Blasio ally.

“They have an interest in Moishe because they’re digging into de Blasio’s fund-raising tactics and they want to know what favors they [Hasidic community members] are getting back from the mayor,” the source added.

Indig did not return calls seeking comment.

Agents visited Rabbi David Niederman on Thursday, but Niederman referred them to his lawyers, two sources said. Niederman told The Post federal agents did not visit him.

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Federal authorities on Thursday arrested Williamsburg political operative Yitzchok “Isaac” Sofer on charges he lied about his income to obtain $30,000 in food stamps.

The FBI interviewed Sofer two weeks ago about mayoral fund-raising and influence peddling, but he refused to rat on his friends at City Hall, the sources said. The sources believe the FBI brought the food-stamp charge to squeeze information from him.

“They know Sofer is a progressive Hasidic Jew who is friendly with all these guys in the administration including [top de Blasio aides] Avi Fink and Emma Wolfe,” a City Hall source said. “People in the community come to him to fix their problems and he has amassed his influence.”

Indig, Niederman and Sofer are influential leaders in the Satmar community, one of the city’s largest Hasidic sects. De Blasio ­aggressively courted the Satmars in his 2013 mayoral campaign.

It was Indig who convinced leaders of the Satmars’ Aroni faction to shift their support from Christine Quinn to de Blasio two weeks before the contentious 2013 Democratic primary, sources said.

Sofer said at the time that de Blasio’s support for private religious schools was a main reason for the endorsement.

Sofer and Indig were the hosts of an Oct. 3, 2013, fund-raising event for de Blasio, according to the mayor’s campaign Web site.

Indig, who landed on de Blasio’s “Worst Landlords” list back when the mayor was public advocate, has attended at least two meetings at City Hall with Niederman and other religious leaders, according to the mayor’s official schedule.

But Indig has never registered as a lobbyist despite advocating on issues important to the Orthodox community, sources said.

“Developers go to Indig with issues with their properties, hoping to get permits expedited or rezonings approved by the city,” said one Williamsburg source. “People hire him privately to get things done.”

Sofer, 39, works in government relations for the Central United Talmudical Academy, which is tied to the Aroni faction. The yeshiva’s lobbyist, Capalino+Company, pressed Fink and other City Hall officials in early 2015 to open a universal-pre-K program at the site.

The FBI raided the academy’s offices in March, possibly as part of a probe into the use of federal school-lunch funds, reports said.

CUTA spokesman Michael Tobman called Sofer’s arrest a “personal matter having nothing to do with the larger community or its institutions.” Sofer did not return a message seeking comment.

 

To see the article in its entirety click here.

Satmar Support Hillary – But not Her Face in their Newspapers…

 

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‘Friend of the Jews’ Hillary Clinton Endorsed by ultra-Orthodox Satmar Sect

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.751424

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A day after Ivanka Trump visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s grave to gather spiritual support for her father’s presidential campaign, another ultra-Orthodox sect gave an endorsement to his rival, Hillary Clinton, called her a “longtime friend of the Jews.”

The large Satmar sect includes has tens of thousands of followers worldwide, the majority of them in the New York areas. Since 2006, the community has been divided into two factions, led by rival brothers and rabbis Aron and Zalman Teitelbaum. Members of both sects are anti-Zionist, believing that it is sacrilege to create a Jewish state before the arrival of the Messiah.

The statement calling on Satmar followers to support Clinton, which came from Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum’s branch, declared that Satmar leaders “endorse and hereby order all registered voters, in our community, to come out and give the vote for the longtime friend of the Jews, Hillary R. Clinton, former New York State Senator and Secretary of State. (She) is known for her rare rich career of grand achievements, with special sensitivity and understanding to the needs of our Jewish brothers, in particular with very delicate cases of pidyon shevuyim (liberation of Jewish prisoners) and hatzalot nefashot (saving of lives.)”

The announcement is signed by the “brotherhood” of community organizers.

It’s not the first time in the 2016 election season that Clinton has won the Satmar endorsement. In April, both factions gave her their blessing in her primary race against Bernie Sanders. At the time, one Satmar newspaper ran an editorial declaring that, “It is important to demonstrate our ‘Hakarat Hatov’ (the Hebrew term for gratitude) for Mrs. Clinton, whose help for Jewish interests had far-reaching effects back when she was First Lady in the White House.”

The reference to “liberation of Jewish prisoners” in the Satmar endorsement may have something to do with the fact that on his last day in office, January 20. 2001, the same day he infamously pardoned financier Marc Rich, President Bill Clinton also reduced the prison sentences of four ultra-Orthodox men, members of the Skverer sect, whose rabbinical leader is the brother-in-law of Satmar’s Aron Teitelbaum, who had been convicted and imprisoned for federal fraud.

That pardon raised eyebrows due to the fact Hillary Clinton, in her first Senate run a few months before the pardons, received an overwhelming percentage of the vote from the Skverer’s sect’s home base in New Square – more than 100 times than that of her opponent, Republican Rick Lazio. An investigation was initiated by the Manhattan U.S. attorney into whether, as the New York Times reported  “the village leaders aggressive courting of the president and Mrs. Clinton before and after the 2000 Senate election raised questions of whether the men’s sentences were reduced in exchange for votes.”

The 2002 Times story quoted the attorney for the Southern District of New York who announced the closing of the investigation saying that he had “determined it wasn’t appropriate to bring charges against anyone in the case.” That attorney was a man who would go on to play a key role in the current election race – FBI director James Comey.

While Satmar may be endorsing Clinton’s candidacy, it is not exactly known for empowerment of women. Women don’t hold leadership roles in their strict community and if Clinton should win the presidency, her photograph wouldn’t be featured in their newspapers, which refrain from running any images of women – particularly in Clinton’s trademark pantsuits (one report  tells of a 2006 meeting with between Clinton and a Satmar rabbi which was stymied because the then-senator was wearing pants. The situation was resolved by her agreement to “wear a long raincoat over her pants.)

In August, it was reported that the sect had issued a decree that higher education for women was “dangerous” and “against the Torah,” and that “no girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree.”

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.751424

Satmar vs. Israel Lobby in NY Congressional Primary

As always, a hat tip goes out to Richard Silverstein and Tikun Olam..

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2016/10/18/satmar-vs-israel-lobby-new-york-congressional-primary/

 

Satmar – Abusing Government Resources: Section 8, SNAP, Medicaid

 

 

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Several Members of the Satmar Community Reportedly Arrested This Morning

The FBI in Williamsburg this morning made arrests at 118 Skillman and 900 Bedford. Four members of the Satmar community were arrested arrested in Williamsburg, Bedford and Skillman. The FBI were in Boro Park at 52nd between 11 & 12 as well this morning.

The 5 arrested so far are:

Shlome Kuptchik & his wife
Zalmen leib Teitelbaum Ben Meir
Gabe Bihmd Myrtle
Nuta Wolf

To read the article in its entirety: http://israelnewsonline.org/breaking-several-members-of-th…/

 

An Unconventional Way to Obtain a Get… Satmar Rabbi and Murder Plot

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of Rabbi And Member Of Satmar Community For Conspiring To Kidnap And Murder | USAO-SDNY | Department of Justice


https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/js/js_1H0BagV0_yWBCoyD6G9pQzg9T5T5Wv2lSk0YbPgykMU.js

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of Rabbi And Member Of Satmar Community For Conspiring To Kidnap And Murder

Goal of the Alleged Scheme Was to Obtain a Religious Divorce for the Victim’s Wife

Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the filing of a federal criminal complaint charging SHIMEN LIEBOWITZ and AHARON GOLDBERG with conspiring to kidnap and murder an individual in order to obtain a religious divorce for that individual’s wife.  LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG were arrested yesterday in Central Valley, New York, while meeting to plan the kidnapping and murder.  They will be presented later today before Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman in federal court in Manhattan.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “The defendants are charged with a chilling plot to kidnap and murder the intended victim.  Over a period of months, the Complaint alleges, they met repeatedly to plan the kidnapping and to pay more than $55,000 to an individual they believed would carry it out.  Thanks to the exemplary work of our partners at the FBI and NYPD, Liebowitz and Goldberg are now in custody.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “As if the plan to kidnap the victim and force him to divorce his wife in this alleged conspiracy wasn’t bad enough, the plotters allegedly decided halfway through the arrangement to go a step further and add murder to the list of their planned crimes.  Our country protects freedom of religious beliefs and practices, but no one is allowed to plot a kidnapping and murder regardless of their motivation.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

According to Jewish religious law as observed in certain communities, in order to effect a divorce, a husband must provide his wife with a document known as a “get.”  A woman whose husband will not consent to a divorce is known as an “agunah.”  In the absence of the husband’s issuing a get, an agunah may be released from her marriage only through the husband’s death.

In early July, an individual (the “CS”) contacted the FBI and reported that the CS had been recruited by LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG to kidnap a particular individual (the “Intended Victim”) in order to force the Intended Victim to issue a get to his wife.  Like the CS, GOLDBERG and LIEBOWITZ are orthodox Jews.  LIEBOWITZ is a member of the Satmar community in Kiryas Joel, New York (a village in Orange County, New York), and GOLDBERG is an Israel-based rabbi who also maintains a position of prominence in Kiryas Joel.

The CS provided the FBI with information about a conversation he had with LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG on or about July 6 or July 7.  During the meeting, which was recorded, the CS feigned interest in participating in the kidnapping.  He, GOLDBERG, and LIEBOWITZ discussed how such a kidnapping might be carried out, including the possibility of luring the Intended Victim to Pennsylvania in order to kidnap him, torture him, and force him to give the get.  The CS, GOLDBERG, and LIEBOWITZ also discussed the possibility of kidnapping the Intended Victim in Ukraine, where the Intended Victim planned to travel in late September to celebrate the Jewish New Year.  GOLDBERG and LIEBOWITZ agreed to advance the CS $25,000 to assist in efforts to plan the kidnapping.  According to the CS, within days of this initial meeting, an envelope containing approximately $25,000 cash was delivered to the CS.

On or about August 9, 2016, the CS met with LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG in Kiryas Joel, New York.  During this meeting, the CS, GOLDBERG, and LIEBOWITZ discussed additional details of the kidnapping plan, including logistics and the cost associated with a plan to kidnap the Intended Victim overseas.  This conversation was also recorded.

On August 12, 2016, the CS again met with LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG, at which time they provided the CS with an additional payment of over $20,000 for use in making arrangements for the kidnapping.  In this meeting, which was also recorded, the CS, GOLDBERG and LIEBOWITZ further discussed their plan to kidnap the Intended Victim in the United States and to obtain the get from him in this country.

Subsequent to the August 12, 2016, meeting, the CS had additional conversations with GOLDBERG, in which GOLDBERG discussed his desire not merely to kidnap the Intended Victim, but also to kill him.

On August 25, 2016, the CS met LIEBOWITZ in Central Valley, New York.  During the meeting, LIEBOWITZ paid the CS an additional sum of about $12,000 to carry out the kidnapping.  Also during the meeting, the CS spoke by phone with GOLDBERG, who was still in Israel, about the kidnapping plan, which the CS and GOLDBERG referred to in code as a “wedding,” as well as GOLDBERG’s desire that the CS kill the Intended Victim.  This conversation was also recorded.

On or about September 2, 2016, the CS had another recorded conversation with LIEBOWITZ, during which LIEBOWITZ indicated his understanding that the Intended Victim would be murdered as part of the plan.

*              *             *

LIEBOWITZ, 25, of Monroe, New York, and GOLDBERG, 55, of Bnei Brak, Israel, are charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum potential sentence of life in prison, and one count each of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department, working through the Joint Organized Crime Task Force.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit and Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Hartman and Paul M. Monteleoni are in charge of the prosecution.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

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SATMAR – Keep the Women Uneducated and Keep Them Chained.

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The New York Times

In Brooklyn, Stifling Higher Learning Among Hasidic Women

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/nyregion/in-brooklyn-stifling-higher-learning-among-hasidic-women.html?_r=0

In the mid-1940s, Joel Teitelbaum, an eminent and charismatic rabbi, immigrated to the United States, colonizing a section of Williamsburg in Brooklyn for his Hasidic sect, the Satmar, its name taken from the Hungarian town of Szatmar, where Rabbi Teitelbaum had fought to resist the encroachments of a modernizing society.

Subsequent decades have seen virtually no retrenchment in the sect’s mistrust of the larger world.

Among the Satmar in Brooklyn, use of the internet is condemned and secular education is considered of little use. In recent years, though, it became the fashion among some Satmar women to pursue special-education degrees after high school, typically online or through religious colleges. The women often go to work not in philosophically suspect places like Greenwich Village, but in schools within their community. Now, even that minor advance has been rolled back; some Satmar leaders issued a decree proclaiming that the practice would no longer be tolerated. A letter from the United Talmudical Academy, the governing body for a consortium of schools, meant for girls entering the 12th grade and their parents, stated that they “shouldn’t God forbid take a degree which is according to our sages, dangerous and damaging.”

The letter went on to say that girls shouldn’t learn college subjects and that those who refused to obey would be denied positions as teachers. Leaders, they said, had a responsibility to protect the religious educational system from outside influences. The notion is not an invention of the Hasidim, Allan Nadler, the director of Jewish studies at Drew University and a scholar of Hasidic practice, explained. The Mishna, a multivolume compilation of Jewish law that predates the Talmud, contains a prohibition against “external books.” Still, Mr. Nadler maintained, the recent decree reflects what he has observed over the years as a deepening fear of wider society.

The Talmudical Academy did not return calls seeking comment.

A history of pandering to the ultra-Orthodox in Brooklyn goes back at least to the days of Mario M. Cuomo. Politicians who might otherwise feel free to lecture black and Hispanic communities on the importance of grit, self-reliance and the sacred path of higher learning express remarkably little outrage over the habits of a group that essentially enshrines its own dependency on the system. According to a 2011 study by the UJA-Federation of New York, the Jewish philanthropic organization, just 11 percent of Hasidic men and 6 percent of Hasidic women in and around New York City hold bachelor’s degrees, while the poverty rate among Hasidic households stands at 43 percent, nearly twice the figure citywide.

A reliance on public assistance is remarkably common among the Hasidim, explained Lani Santo, the executive director of Footsteps, an organization begun in 2003 to help those who decide to leave the ultra-Orthodox world. “Even if you want to be able to have a community that is maintaining its own traditions,” she told me, “you still need to be able to have the tools and skills to support your family.” Political leaders, beholden to the enormous voting bloc that the Hasidim, and especially the Satmar, provide, remain reluctant to say something so obvious.

The recent Satmar decree is more than a feminist issue; it is a humanist problem. Through lower grades and upper school, girls in the community typically wind up with a more secular education than boys because boys devote most of their time to Talmudic study. Women will typically have better command of English and math, Ms. Santo explained, and are able to get better-paying jobs after finishing school. When they may need to pull back after having children, their husbands, for whom college is deemed equally ill-advised, find themselves either not working at all because they are continuing their religious training or too poorly equipped to find remunerative work.

Many of them, Libelle Polaki, an exile from the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn, told me, will resort to selling things online, which must be regarded as its own kind of sacrilege given the prohibitions against certain technologies. At 28, Ms. Polaki expects to graduate from the Borough of Manhattan Community College in December. This semester she is taking six classes and auditing two others. At a cafe in Williamsburg psychographically distant from the Williamsburg in which she spent part of her life, she spoke of the hard work it took to get where she is.

Having suffered through an arranged marriage, she said, she was forced to pay off her husband, with a sum of approximately $18,000, to get divorced; a philanthropist helped her come up with the money. She held several menial jobs after high school that made her miserable, one working for Satmar leaders doing secretarial work; one in a matzo factory; and another in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities, where she was fired, she told me, after reporting abuses by the staff.

To read the article in its entirety click here.