JUST IN: Statement From The Lakewood Vaad On Welfare-Fraud Related Arrests

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The following is a statement from the Lakewood Vaad:

We are saddened beyond words by the arrests of seven couples in our town. As firm believers in the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ we suspend judgment until the disposition of these charges, and are comforted knowing that our judicial system is an able arbiter of justice.

Regardless of the outcomes of these cases, we have, in our view, a valuable teaching moment that cannot be wasted.

There is no such a thing as “justified” theft. Federal and State social safety-net programs are meant for those in need, even those in need have rules and criteria that must be strictly followed. To deliberately bend a safety-net eligibility rule is stealing, no different than stealing from your friend or neighbor.

We would all do well to redouble and triple our efforts in our communities, reminding each and every one of us that there is never any excuse for dishonesty in any form. Let us take this moment to speak openly of these matters, from the pulpit, in the classroom, and by parents at the dinner table, so that this tragic but necessary learning moment is not lost.

In the days ahead we will help launch a set of intensive educational programs that can ensure that such does not happen again, and will invite the public to participate in these timely programs.

Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg on behalf of The Lakewood Vaad


44 COMMENTS

  1. “intensive educational programs” ?? How about these two words – Lo Signov or try this Yiras Shamayim or how about Yiras Chait!!! That should be intensive enough!

  2. I must thank YWN for reporting this story & bringing it to the public forum. This is something that should be talked about, discussed and aired in public, even if only to stop a few people from doing this again. The hundreds of calls to the department to change their earning status & get off the programs this week, can only be accredited to the high profile arrests and media attention given to these cases (even if proven to be innocent).
    I applaud the Vaad for their statement and the programs they hope to initiate. (Hopefully this is not a case of too little too late.) It would benefit each of us to look over all our finances to make sure we are not cutting corners and be more scrupulous in all our financial dealings.

  3. What a shame for the Vaad to comment now after the fact. They were given a heads up months ago from the Fed’s that they know what is going on in the community and they should spread the word as a warning. I am not condoning the actions of these families, The Vaad has a responsibility to spread the word and they didn’t so there is fault on their end. It’s about time they start talking about problems in the public and not being embarrassed when it’s too late. It’s time to stop sweeping the garbage under the carpet.

  4. Enough people are going to pass judgment on them; we can be the ones who give them the benefit of the doubt. Why not use this as a teaching moment and an opportunity to fulfill the Mitzvah of “Dan L’kaf Zchus”? It won’t hurt anyone. There are so many ways that a person could have gotten into this situation without any intention to conduct fraud. There are ambiguities that even the welfare depts do not have clear answers too. Intensive education is necessary. Kudos to the Lakewood vaad for coming out so quickly with a statement.

  5. Let me ask the Vaad a question… Your Lakewood girls can not get married only if the Father promises to support the couple for a minimum of 10 years. How does a Father who has 10-12 kids home and earns 60-70,000 a year support them without finding another source of income and usually it results by borrowing from Gemachs,neighbors , and good friends and default on those loans? Then they are forced to accept government programs to make ends meet.
    Then comes the rotten school system that doesn’t accept your children only by paying tuition which they can’t afford so here they are back of finding a way to survive.
    Bottom line the system is ROTTEN and the VAAD is responsible for this behavior to end.
    Now that Lakewood has been put to shame with its biggest chilil hashem ever its time to wake up and change your lifestyles and if you cant afford to sit and learn hashem dosent need such Torah by stealing and ripping off the government.

  6. Oh No!! it won;t be swept under the rug. The Gentiles will be there alright reminding us, how Yidden are such criminals, liars and cheats. What a massive Chullul Hashem that has tarnished Jewish communities every where!!

  7. Also, there needs to be a major change how we shop at our local supermarkets. I see consumers filling up their wagons with all sorts of Nosh and Paper goods and prepared food. Where do we take all this $$$ from.? Food Stamps,Welfare?
    Change your lifestyle or pay the price. My rebbe in cheder taught me.
    The way you make your BED that’s the way you will sleep in it.

  8. I have 7 kids and over burdened with tuition and mortgage expense. I make 70k a year. So my question is simple. Would Rabonim permit me to send my kids to Public School so I can alleviate the burden of tuition and thereby reporting honestly so I can afford to purchase health insurance ?

  9. Oy rebyossel, oy va voy
    You’re mussar to us all…
    Including the vaad & the Gedolim.
    All that remains for us, your humble talmidim, is to say, a mighty big “Yaasher kochacho”

  10. Why is Yeshiva World reporting on this? You won’t see this on Matzav or in Yated or HaModia or even in Mishpacha.

    Why is a site that purports to be representative of our Yeshiva world, acting as if they are another gossip filled website with a liberal, leftist agenda? Did the Forward get lonely?

    Lakewood remains synonymous with Torah and chesed and lawfulness.

    The realities of dealing with severely handicapped children (ie. those who need government funding to exist) while at the same time maintaining a large thriving yiddishe family, are not appreciated by the powers that be. They cannot understand that a frum Jewish family making (a paltry) $50,000 is unable to sustain itself and is as eligible for help (food, housing and medical) as the people in Harlem or the Bronx who pay nothing for education, do nothing to maintain their families and do nothing other than live off the public dole.

    The legal loopholes and other assorted devices our community has been forced to use to exist, are legal and in use by millions of others. Unfortunately, the authorities decided to apply an intense level of scrutiny on these poor Lakewood families and hence the ruckus. Let them focus on the real criminals of society. Let them go after the drug dealers and thieves who are preying on the innocent and vulnerable. They will find whatever fraud and tax evasion they wish. Its all a matter of who you want to target.

    So Va’ad of Lakewood: Please keep your unelected mouth shut. Your mussar is misplaced and not timely. If you would be doing your job of creating relationships with politicians, the Lakewood community would not be fair game.

    I suggest that the Va’ad resign en masse. They have served no one other than themselves. Perhaps it is time for all of Lakewood to register their children in public school for the upcoming September semester. 50,000 children should run the state about one billion dollars in costs the parents have been covering till now. Perhaps this drastic move is the only way to get the powers-that-be to appreciate our community.

    May Hashem have mercy on us all.

    Moderators Note: “Please keep your unelected mouth shut”….. And who elected you to run the LL Organization?

  11. Why is the Lakewood Vaad the only public response – and even that one response is only signed by one person who is an askance rather than a manhig? Where is the Kol Korei? Where are the Roshei Yeshiva?
    – and more to the point, where have they been for the last decade?!

  12. If you are going to reveal my identity in public (with the Moderators Note that is not too hard to figure out), I ask that you remove this post. I have rarely posted in the past, and I will not post again.

    I do wish you would remove mention of this scandal from your site and I understand that by comparing you to the Forward I have hurt your feelings. So please remove my entire post and with it yours and we go back to where we started. Fair?

    Moderators Note: Why don’t you go to the people you publicly insulted (forget about the editorial board of YWN) while hiding behind your “stricly yosher” name, and ask them mechilla. That would be a start.

  13. StrictlyYosher, thank you for adding to this debate by bringing a level of racism into the debate along with a level of justification for illegal behavior.

    If you want to make more then $50K then go to school and learn a profession that pays better (oh, wait, secular education is assur) or start a business (oh, wait, that’s working and my kids won’t get a good shudduch).

    The “legal loopholes” are not there…people use the programs in a way not intended for their benefit and probably break the law when doing so. Further, even if families in “Harlem or the Bronx” are doing so, that’s not a justification for stealing. Do you tell your kids that “X’ averiah is OK just because Ploni is doing it?

    You represent the worst values of the “Yeshivish” community. Do yourself a favor…blog less and spend some time in a Mussar Sefer.

  14. Dear Reb “Strictly Yosher” –

    First, you seem confused about the difference between legal loopholes and illegality; perhaps that is one of the causes of the types of welfare fraud being exposed. Second, you seem to think that when the “powers that be” don’t understand your predicament, you are licensed to treat American laws as moral statements and metaphors, rather than regulations. For someone who no doubt is familiar with “Lo Plug Rabanan,” it is surprising how you can’t fathom why American laws work the same way. Third, if asking people to follow the law is a “leftist liberal agenda,” you should be ashamed not to be one yourself.

  15. When will inzireh yiddalach focus on all the wonderful chasodim done within our communities? Look at the Bikur Cholim, Chaveyrim, as well as Tomche Shabbos as starters.

    With all the sonay Yisroel naysayers out there may they see a misa mishuna bkorov, we need to fight back with positives.

    DEFEND KLAL YISROEL AS A WHOLE otherwise you are the problem too.

  16. 1 These people are crazy had they cared they would teach about GOD in schools so that not only when things go bad we
    turn to GOD, but on a daily basis.
    2 If we really believed in GOD we would not have to cheat the government, ourselves or neighbors.
    3 Our Torah says “Dina Dimalchausa Dina” lets try to keep to that for once.
    4 I know with myself when I trust in GOD things work out for the best (not necessarily how I want them).

  17. Chutzpah for the vaad to portray these people as thieves even if they are releasing a statement that ” we don’t stand for geneiva and theft ” paints these poor young Yungeleit in a bad light even if they twisted the rules and they shouldn’t have as for you ywn get a life and stop posting this nonsense your accomplishing nothing with getting your agenda accross

  18. I respectfully request that our Manhigim the Roshei Yeshiva Shlita come forward and lead their people through this crises. Please guide us by implementing the very difficult changes are needed. Please show the equal tenacity to what was displayed in regards to internet usage (although the exact tactics may have to be altered) . I request people who agree, to second my request. Thank you.

  19. Seriously, people. By judging others (never mind making assumptions about what is or isn’t true) and taking for granted what you may have, you’re being mekatreig yidden. I think the goyim in shtut are doing fine running to town on everything we may or may not do wrong. You all have a better understanding of what and why things are being done, so get off of your computer, and get a life. Stop passing judgement on people for doing the one thing you don’t do yourself. I’m sure your hashkafos aren’t too perfect.. sitting here late at night posting disgusting things about yidden anonymously

  20. “and are comforted knowing that our judicial system is an able arbiter of justice.”

    Yup. Just ask Rubashkin or the many others whom the justice system treated fairly.

  21. Perhaps its time to hear what changes Gdolim and Roshei Yeshiva feel MUST be implemented, now, to make our lifestyle sustainable in a totally honest way.

  22. And yet, not a mention by all you Torah haters, a word about gay marriage. Gay marriage, the Aibishter calls Toaiva! A chiyuv Karais! Thee worst Chillul Hashem!
    All you haters were just salivating for an opportunity to bash Lakewood as a whole, and inherently Torah Hakdosha. You are just trying to massage your guilty conscience because YOU don’t serve the Aibishter the way you’re supposed to. So the best way to do that, is to put down and destroy those who do. Now because of 7 families, yes, just 7 out of how many…….? What’s the percentage? Because of 7 families you put down an entire City??? What is wrong with you? You haters weren’t salivating when the exact same thing happened in Monroe a few years ago. That was quickly swept under the rug. Shhh, shhhh, shhh, shah shtil. Mir tornisht redden vegan deh zachen. The Solomon Dwek story quieted down pretty quickly. But when it comes to bashing a Torah community as a whole, all the fangs are out. You haters suddenly cloak yourselves in sanctimonious self righteousness. Pheh! Hypocrites, phonies, and haters of Torah and those who dedicate their lives to it! You Torah haters can’t pick and chose which Chillul Hashem you are ok with and which ones you’re not.
    If these 7 are guilty, they will be found so and pay a price, but don’t pile on and put down an entire wonderful Torah community.

  23. As was written “As firm believers in the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ we suspend judgment until the disposition of these charges, and are comforted knowing that our judicial system is an able arbiter of justice.”

  24. Genug shoin! I know some of the people who were arrested and I can assure you that they have never knowingly committed a crime. I have read the charges and they are bogus. The FBI never took any statement from them or asked them if they have any explanation for the money that was deposited in their account. I’m sure that this was not their money. Maybe they had to deposit this money in their account for a good reason. Forget about being Dan Lekaf Sechus, these hapless people have to spend $10,000 on bail plus exorbitant legal fees and in end it will wind up being a big fat nothing.

    When the charges are dropped, no one will come forward with an apology for being Choishaid Bekshairim. Instead they will say, “They got away with it”. Yeah, right.

    I can assure all of the posters that if the FBI were to investigate them they would find that each of you has committed ten federal offenses every day before they even ate breakfast.

    And finally, the elephant in the room. there are at least 10,000 Lakewood residents that hail from the South. The Deep South. I mean so South that they don’t even speak English. Do they benefit from government assistance? You betcha! You think there is a chance that maybe they might not be eligible for Obamacare, food stamps, SSI, etc. Nah, couldn’t be. I’m sure they report “vie ah tattahle” all the income they get for cleaning our houses.

    It was reported that a “law enforcement official”commented, “This will send a message to this community that the party is over.” Just substitute “the Jews” for ” this community”, and you’ll see what this is all about.

    “Die Juden sund Unser Umgluck!”

    Shades of Germany 1933. Can the American Krystalnacht be far behind?

  25. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty??? let them have a fair trial before all of you (YWN included) call them (& our whole town) cheaters. lets hear their side of the story…

    I happened to notice that when there is a terrorist attack YWN is very careful to write the “alleged” perpetrator & not terrorist…

    something to think about.

  26. As was written “As firm believers in the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ we suspend judgment until the disposition of these charges, and are comforted knowing that our judicial system is an able arbiter of justice.”\
    The article should not have even appeared!

  27. ChicagoJew613. If you would know more about Lakewood you would also know that Lakewood is full of entrepreneurs. I have hear numerous times from UPS drivers that Lakewood is the fastest growing HUB in NJ due to the explosion in new businesses. Recently, my freight carrier told me the same thing.

    I am not condoning anyone’s behavior, but if you want to focus on anarea that needs some attention, it would be the standard of living. I remember when a 2800 square foot home, was considered a “mansion” in Lakewood. Now, it is considered too small.

    I make what would be considered a very nice living, and am shocked at what people spend on clothes for children and other items. Thinking of making a Bar Mitzvah? Well, you can’t make one without a photographer and party planner. I remeber when I was Bar Mitzvah, we had a kiddush withsome homemade cake that my mother and aunts baked, and some herring, and that was it, and guess what, I was the Bar Mitzvah “worked” and I didn’t suffer any short or long term effects from being deprived.

    The wealthy, would have a catered weekday Bar Mitzvah, now if you don’t have a catered weekday affair, people look at you like you a re a Metzorah. And I haven’t even gotten to chasunas.

    FYI, unlike other critics, I am not going to mention leased cars. After some bad experiences with used cars, I actually think you save money leasing a car, over buying used. With a lease, you never have to pay any maintanence (other than oil changes) no tire rotations/replacements, no tune ups, not replacing timing belts etc.

  28. @midwestjoe if you do simple arithmetic (for those from lkwd this means math) than you would know that it is more economical to buy a good used car than lease.

    For all those who want to be Dan Lekav V’chus. Here is some insight about the federal government and FBI. There is a reason why they raided the house they did and arrest whoever they did. It’s because they do months and years of investigation before they make an arrest and they don’t just pick on any random how to investigate. There are clear reasons why they chose who they did to investigate. Don’t be foolish.

    @rebyossel there is a very simple solution to what say. 1) don’t have 12 kids (especially if your only making 60k a year) 2) go get a college degree and you’ll earn more than 60k a year. And once on the “secular education” subject. It’s ok if girls go to school and get a degree but when a guy does than he’s looked down upon. And all those girls with the degree don’t want to date a guy thats in school because remember it’s really asur and all guys have to learn three sedarim a day ignore he want to get married. NO. We are just thinking past our nose and want to be self sufficient. And not rely on the stupid broken system in lkwd and rely on the father In law for support.

    Bring on the heat. I’m ready…..

  29. While there is never any justification for stealing and dishonesty, the situation is עת צרה היא ליעקב! Hundreds of Frum couples are anxiously waiting for this wave of arrests to come to an end. Hoping not to be among those handcuffed. And let’s not be Naive and fool ourselves that the motivation of this scrutiny is to enforce the “intention” of the social programs and services. American anti-semitism is concentrated to the Legal system. Where it is masked as enforcing the “law”. Woe to that poor frum yid that is caught with legal issues. The judge can unleash his hatred for the “Jew” without any backlash.
    Out of the hundreds of articles bashing “the orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood”, not one sentence about the non-exist crime rate there.
    Let’s not see ourselves through the eyes of עשו!

  30. When a Jew in Kovono does bitul Torah a Jew in paris converts to Christianity, when a guy in lakewood gets in trouble for petty yeshivah shtick the bad element of Yeshiva university comes out with a documentary wbeing sympathetic to gays

  31. for all the talk about expensive school fees being behind this. I totally get jt that it’s hard to manage a big frum family financially. however that doesn’t justify not reporting your income fairly. the US government is not czarist Russia.
    the US government doesn’t force frum families to have super expensive weddings. they don’t force shvers to support their sons in law in kollel. doesn’t force you to buy your wife a sheitil for 2 grand.
    if you have a problem withere money. don’t cheat the system… just enroll all frum kids in public school and force the government to pay for private school fees.

  32. Not getting involved writes:

    > And yet, not a mention by all you Torah haters, a word about gay marriage. Gay marriage, the Aibishter
    > calls Toaiva! A chiyuv Karais! Thee worst Chillul Hashem!

    The news story and arrests are not about gay marriage. They are about fraud against the government and theft of public money. If you stand up in front of the judge and say “Maybe I put things on that form that weren’t true, but what about those homosexuals getting married?!” it will not impress the Court.

    Beyond that, it asks all the old questions about why there is such a high official rate of poverty in Lakewood , Kiryas Joel, and similar communities, why so many people are on benefits for so long, why whole generations are unable to support themselves including questions about the educational system. I wish the legal action had happened years ago before the abuses had gotten so widespread. It would have been easy then to correct what was wrong. Now it will be much harder. There will be more hardship and news of these shameful things will spread at Internet speed.

  33. dont live in lakewood anymore, but do people think that going to work solves your parnasa problems? your tuition goes up, you must pay taxes, etc. how many people that work still cant make ends meet? I work and still cant make ends meet. maybe the standard of living is the problem, as some said, but NOT the fact that they arent in the secular work force. by the way YWN, revealing someones ID is akin to malbin pnei chaveiro, watch it!

  34. El Rushbo, “Look at the Bikur Cholim, Chaveyrim, as well as Tomche Shabbos as starters.” You can add Hatzalah and Shomrim and a few other orgs. This is an argument that comes up often. Problem is these services and 99% of the time used only for the frum. Advertised for the frum. So the Non-Jewish population would not care as to what we do for OURSELVES!! Get it!! True you have your story here and there of a Kiddush Hashmem that is made on a plane by a Hatzolah member, or a cop who is stuck on the street. However it’s not that common.

    Now if these organizations spread out and opened for all members of Lakewood then you would have a fantastic argument. If we want to prove our mettle and chesed then we do need to do it for everyone. Then we would get lots of props.

  35. @abelah it’s been proven. That those with a degree have significantly higher starting salaries than those that don’t and especially those that the last time they had an English class was 8th grade

  36. Why is it that there are people who are still not willing or able to own up to the fact that these practices are wrong and must be changed? Why does it justify things if we do chessed and have gemachim? It definitely does not justify things in the eyes of the goyim, and I am not a navi, but I don’t thing it justifies things in the eyes of Hashem either. How many more of these scandals is it going to take for people to get the message? Once it goes national R”L, it will be too late.
    The hardship of living excuse also does not justify these practices. Especially when there are pictures of the beautiful houses that the people live in with two late-model cars in the driveway. That is why Duvi Honig’s statement was so stupid, as well-meaning as I am sure he is. That is why we needed real leadership out immediately after this happened, and preferably a few months before this happened, not leading from behind as the Vaad is doing.
    To say that it will not help if people go to work is idiotic. While this may not solve the problem for someone who is 35 with ten kids, if most people start going to work at ages 25-27 or so, that still leaves them plenty of time to learn and there will be enough time for their income to build up before they have a large family. Chochom Einav Berosho. If you want to learn longer and be mistapek bemuat like you should, that is great, but people should not think that they will be able to do this on the backs of the government anymore and get away with it. People need to wake up and change their ways before it is too late.

  37. @dr. Nat Thai story has already gone national. It was on usatoday.com and fox business news. Maybe others too. I saw both of these articles. I agree with you about the “official statement” put out by Duvi Honing is was really brain dead. He should not be trying to justify these things and make it sound that it’s ok to do.

  38. @dr. Nat Thai story has already gone national. It was on usatoday.com and fox business news. Maybe others too. I saw both of these articles. I agree with you about the “official statement” put out by Duvi Honing was really brain dead. He should not be trying to justify these things and make it sound that it’s ok to do.

  39. Before you give your DROSHOS and of course ALL Lashem Shomayim…BEWARE you are talking about family’s who “LIVE” for KLAL Yisroel…When an Almono was left penniless right after sheva this young man ran and worked 48 HOURS NON STOP and collected OVER $800,000.00…DID YOU BIG MUSSER GIVER DO THAT FOR ANOTHER JEW OR ARE YOU FROM THE ONES THAT GIVE A QUARTER OR BEST A DOLLAR WHEN SOMEONE COMES TO YOU IN SHUL OR AT YOUR HOME AND YOU ACT LIKE WHY THE HECK ARE YOU BOTHERING ME……DID YOU HELP HUNDRED OF DISABLED CHILDREN FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS HAVE A “NORMAL LIVE” WHICH FOR WITHOUT THEM THESE CHILDREN WOULD BE BEILI MUMIM FOR LIFE …YES FOR LIFE…….I’M NOT SAYING THE ACTS ARE ALL JUSTIFIED….THE TIFERES SHLOMO (LAST PAGE ON MOADIM) SAYS THAT EVERY WORD A JEW UTTERS IN THIS WORD GOES UP TO SHAMAYIM AND COULD BE CHAS V’SHOLOM A KITRICK ON THE PERSON YOUR ARE SPEAKING ABOUT ….DONT YOU FEAR HASHEM THAT YOU ARE ACTULAY THE JURY FOR THESE BALEI MADRAGA WITH ALL YOUR SO CALLED LESHEM SHOMAYIM DRASHOS……BETTER BELEIVE YOU ARE BAD MOUTHING HIGH NESHOMAS WHO ARE EMPLOYED IN THE ARMY OF HASHEM…WHERE ARE YOU…. IN THE ARMY OF YOUR BUSINESS….IN THE ARMY OF YOUR EMPLOYER …..TRYING TO SATISFY “YOUR” LUST FOR THAT MIGHTY DOLLAR… AND IF I WERE YOU I WOULD THINK TWICE , THREE TIMES AND AFTER ALL…… THEN CALL THEM EREV YOM KIPPER FOR MECHELA BECAUSE AFTER ALL THIS MUSSER AND ONE HUNDRED PERCENT LOSHON HORAH AND RECHILIS ….YES ….. RECHILOS……HOW MUCH OF IT IS MADE UP….. DONT THINK HAKODOSH BORUCH HU WILL EVEN LOOK YOUR WAY ON THAT HOLY DAY IF YOU JUST SAY ONE MORE WORD ON OUR AM KODOSH…I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU…I’M WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD AND HAPPY TO BE PART OF THIS AM ANIVCHAR….…..……..

  40. “As firm believers in the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’” weren’t these the same guys that always promoted Maris Ayin? So presume guilt, unless you’re stealing from “da goyem” then, presume innocence.

  41. to Not getting involved
    “All you haters were just salivating for an opportunity to bash Lakewood as a whole, and inherently Torah Hakdosha.
    You are just trying to massage your guilty conscience because YOU don’t serve the Aibishter the way you’re supposed to.”
    I guess your way to serve the Aibishter is by calling people names and writing your really nasty comments here! Maybe ask your Rov, if you have one, if you should be spreading your “Torahdike” Hashkofa and diffending Torah Hakdosha in this way? Ask your Rov if Aibishter wants you on yeshivaworld.com altogether?