Op-Ed: Lakewood Welfare Fraud: It’s Too Easy, And Not Just Orthodox Jews To Blame

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(Written By Judi Franco – NJ 101.5 / Republished with permission)

Alleged food stamp And Medicaid fraud by Orthodox Jews? Not that big of a story, honestly.

Well, it is to a lot of people, but only cause they’re Jews. And religious ones. From Lakewood ( which always makes for an interesting story).

I mean, how do these otherwise devout, decent people succumb to temptation like this? The answer is: We’ve made it simple.

It needs to be said that there is no defense for acts of fraud. If found guilty, these people have committed crimes and should be punished for them. But Food stamp and Medicaid fraud has a long and rich history in this country, pretty much since we started giving stuff away. In the ’40s, when the food stamp program was first initiated to pull folks out of the Great Depression, the stealing began right away.

Unfortunately, less than six months after the USDA implemented this first federal food-stamp initiative, shop owners were arrested, mischarging customers paying with the stamps thereby playing the system. By the ’60s, it was poor blacks and Latinos who sold their coupons to store merchants for cash. In the ’70s, mobsters and gang members of all stripes were able to procure everything from guns to homes to prostitutes with black market food stamps.

Though now these programs use debit cards to make it harder to treat benefits as commodities, the system is ripe for picking. That’s why we have to stop giving stuff away. Because some people are gonna be tempted to abuse the system, Jewish or otherwise.

But let’s put this into perspective: Lets say there are 50 arrests. Or even 100 arrests. There are still 80,000-plus Orthodox Jews in Lake (the real population size of Lakewood, according to the township, is 125,000). Compare that to arrests in any other city or community. Jews, on the criminal totem pole, are still pretty low.

In terms of Medicaid fraud, here are some numbers from the state comptroller’s office: In 2015, $771 million in fraudulent claims were avoided by proactive antifraud efforts in New Jersey. So, apparently are a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds are abusing this system — including, doctors, hospitals, rich and poor, black and white, Jews, Muslims, Christians and atheists. $771 MILLION! I think that warrants more hysteria than this tiny segment of the New Jersey populace does. And requires us to think about whether it’s time to stop giving away money all together!

But this little slice of Lakewood will always mystify and anger people, whether it commits crimes or not. Cause let’s face it: Medicaid fraud is rampant in this state and always has been. It’s just much more interesting to people when Jews do it.

(Source: nj1015.com)




23 COMMENTS

  1. That is outrageous !! They are ONLY a drop in the bucket? Sorry, I have a whole bunch of nieces and nephews, who all live in Lakewood, and ALL take advantage of the system. When I question their actions vis a vis their “beliefs” they ALL shrug and say Everyone does it.

    Several family members have asked me to buy property for them, and they would give me the cash. Now I know I am “only” a modern orthodox individual, but that is g’neiva, and I don’t care that they look frumer than me !!!

  2. “That’s why we have to stop giving stuff away. Because some people are gonna be tempted to abuse the system, Jewish or otherwise.”
    I think that gives you a picture of the author’s political persuasion. But is YWN endorsing that approach? Because I wonder how the frum community would like that…

  3. Please stop printing articles that justify this behavior. We need to change, not to feel good about ourselves so that we can be desensitized to the criticism and continue doing what we are doing and cause the hatred against us to build up to frightening proportions. Why is there no one in a position of influence who is actually able to look to the future and see where all this is leading? A community of 100,000+ people cannot continue to behave as if they are as small minority who is under the radar.

  4. It is exactly the type of thinking put forth by this article that has led to this horrible situation. There is no room for justification here. are we to understand that theft is permitted when it is easy or when others do it?

  5. There are Negroes who did bad things, so Jews should not be punished for lying and stealing.
    You would think toyreh might teach something about honesty, maybe even about not stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars to support able-bodied men who would rather sit and do nothing than keep their own children from starvation. Maybe if we had a religion that told fathers to teach their son a trade we would be better.

  6. The purpose of the article is NOT to justify the behavior, and the author makes that quite clear. The article just places these few arrests into perspective, with historical comparisons and numbers to back them up.

  7. This is a horrible piece which tries some type of pathetic, backdoor justification of unjustifiable actions.

    In case you didn’t read the entire article, I’ve summarized it into one sentence.

    Summary of this Op-Ed:
    The problem isn’t that they stole, the problem is that they had what to steal.

  8. Yes, it’s true that many other people do the same thing. But isn’t that the whole idea of Klal Yisroel being the Am HaNivchar – the RBSH”O’s children who have committed to Naaseh v’Nishma which includes all the Lo Saasehs in the Torah including gezel. Yes, at times it is challenging and difficult, but the RBSH”O assures us that He never gives us a nisayon that is too great for us to handle. And imagine the Kiddush Hashem created when large families with extraordinary expenses push themselves to live within the halacha even though it is very difficult. We are indeed measured by a different standard than the rest of the world but the privilege of being the Am HaNivchar and differentiating ourselves from everyone else is so special. Let’s not forget why the RBSH”O put us here and let us energize ourselves to make the required changes to our behavior.

  9. I’m not sure what to make of this New Jersey 101.5 FM radio news story. they’re always bashing Lakewood at each and every opportunity that they can. Whether it’s parking, driving, or anything else that they could Bash a yid they’ll be more than happy to do that. I find myself in areas where 101.5 would be helpful for their traffic reports comma but I refuse to listen to them due to their blatant anti-semitic attitude. If they were talking that way about the blacks, Al Sharpton yemach sh’mo would be on their doorstep in a second.

  10. i thank Ms. Franco for her perspective and for sticking up (sort of) for her Jewish brothers and sisters. But the real scandal is not that rabbis and Ultra-Orthodox Jews engaged in welfare fraud, as Ms. Franco concedes, due to the ease with which it can be perpetrated. No, the real scandal is that the United States government is engaged in outright fraud in bringing the charges that it knew was bogus in the first place. I don’t know all the people who were charged , but I do know some of them. I must insist that I would sooner believe that Mother Teresa ran an escort service than believe that these people engaged in wrongdoing. THE CHARGES ARE OUTRIGHT LIES!!!!

    How can this be? Have they not laid out an irrefutable case? What, the FBI FIBS? Cant be. Nonetheless, whoever believes that a government job is honest work never worked for the government. I did, and I know that the government is as crooked as they come. It is difficult to describe the excesses that law enforcement engage in, because unless you’ve seen it, you would believe that by making these assertions I am proclaiming myself to be a lunatic

  11. I don’t think the point is whether or not these specific couples are innocent or not; most of would at least agree that there are some people – if not these couples, then other couples – that are not as ehrlich regarding gov’t programs as they should be, and if those engaged in such fraud don’t view it as a moral/religious problem, they should at least stop it on account of the awful name that they are giving the rest of Lakewood, Orthodox Jewry, and Yidden in general.

  12. i thank Ms. Franco for her perspective and for sticking up (sort of) for her Jewish brothers and sisters. But the real scandal is not that rabbis and Ultra-Orthodox Jews engaged in welfare fraud, as Ms. Franco concedes, due to the ease with which it can be perpetrated. No, the real scandal is that the United States government is engaged in outright fraud in bringing the charges that it knew was bogus in the first place. I don’t know all the people who were charged , but I do know some of them. I must insist that I would sooner believe that Mother Teresa ran an escort service than believe that these people engaged in wrongdoing. THE CHARGES ARE OUTRIGHT LIES!!!!

    How can this be? Have they not laid out an irrefutable case? No , they have not. They have not presented facts; the government presented their interpretation and called it fact, when in reality it is something else entirely.

    How? Let me give an example: The untalented comedienne Kathy Griffin recently pulled off a gag that failed miserably. She pulled out a mask in the likeness of the President and pretended it was his severed head. It was an ugly disgusting thing that was not funny in the least.

    But that’s all it was, an awfully bad joke. However if you want to, you might argue that Ms. Griffin was inciting people to assassinate Donald Trump and therefore it is a capital case. The Secret Service could have picked up Ms. Griffin and kept her in custody. The simple reason this was not done was because President Trump is very unpopular, and such action would be perceived by the public as heavy handed.

    Where the analogy to Kathy Griffin fails is that Ms. Griffin actually did something dishonorable, while the couple that I know did absolutely nothing wrong. To explain why every claim that the government is making is grossly misleading would fill an entire library. I’m sure that people have already up their minds and do not wish it to burdened with the truth, boring as it is. I shall gladly discuss this at length to anyone who might be interest in their truth. Unfortunately this blog is not the best venue for it.

    Why would the government bring charges they know they can’t prove? Well, first they don’t have to prove it. The concept that in the United States one is innocent until proven guilty is a myth. The reality is that in the United State one is guilty as charged, even after they are proven innocent! If you don’t believe me, ask any criminal lawyer. The resources of the federal government are infinite. They would not hesitate to spend 100 million dollars on these cases just so that everyone knows that you don’t oppose the government, ever.

    You might ask why is so important that some poor nebbishes should be hauled away? Think about it, the FBI team has been sitting in Lakewood for three years looking for something they could call a crime. Did they find anything significant? No.

    Drug trafficking? No.
    Gun running? No.
    Racketeering? No.
    Human trafficking? No.
    Child porn? No.
    Cigarette smuggling? No.
    Terrorist activity? No
    Cyber crimes? No.
    Identity theft? No

    What can the FBI pin on the Jews that will justify the three years of investigation? “I got it!”, one clever agent exclaimed,” Let’s charge someone with not informing Medicaid that they just got a job !” But alas such culprits don’t exists. “Wait a minute, I got something.”, the Special Agent cries out. “Here’s someone who notified Medicaid, but used the wrong form for notification. Call out the SWAT team!” (That’s why they call them “Special Agents”, ’cause you gotta be real special to come up with such nonsense.)

    I predict that after the falsely accused prove their case in court, they will still be pressured into pleading guilty to misdemeanor , just so the government could save face. In the meantime this i hapless couple will lose all that they posses, and suffer humiliation for the rest of their lives for something that they are completely blameless, just so that some nefarious U.S. Attorney could make his bones.

    I really can’t fault the people who swallow the story hook, line and sinker, because they don’t know the people involved. But I do, and I’m mad as all heck at the outrageous conduct of the government.

    I thank you all for bearing with me.

  13. Right on Cyrano!! I cant believe what I am reading from our own people! I too know some of these people and they are honest and Yereh Shmmayam. Not enough that they were farshamed for the world but you are making it even worse. I don’t know all of them but I definitely know that some of these things are distortions and are made too sound different then the real reality. i don’t think many of you realize that some of these people are not on any of these programs for years already . also when they went off the programs , it took the government months to make the adjustments and they are being held responsible for this time frame . This is clearly a witch hunt! Like you say for 3 years they have been digging! They wouldn’t dare do this in Harlem. I don’t know who has an agenda here but it is clearly to smear the Jews and draw out money from us. Whatever we do as Jews they are going to sooner or later catch something to condemn. Remember these people are our brothers and sisters, don’t you be so quick to condemn them as well! Cyrano is correct for the klal they are probably going to have to plead guilty to a misdemean or after having to spend a fortune on lawyers fees. Beware this can happen to anyone!! We are definitely in Galus!!

  14. Cyrano: Only time will tell. If they plead guilty to a misdemeanor that would be a legal victory for them. That will not happen. They may take a plea — but it will be to a felony. I would also gues that the husbands will take the hit and the women will walk with the mis-d. Well see.

    For what its worth — i think that they crimes are horrible. I didnt take the author as justifying them though — just pointing out the this type of fraud is common and doesnt always garner front page headlines. Nonetheless, not sure that matters. A murder in a rich white neighborhood gets more headlines than one in Paterson. Not sure what the point is. Finally, I totally disagree that the FBI and state targeted Jews. That requires proof. Got any?

  15. The Prosecutor is under investigation for corruption.
    He’s desperately trying to get the news away from himself.
    He called the press before the raids so they will get good footage.
    The trial against Joseph Coronato will be in the near future in Ocean County Superior Court.
    Court documents: pdf-archive.com/2017/06/30/steven-mecka-vs-ocean-county/

  16. I am kind of new to this site. I just saw an entire section of videos dedicated to not talking in beit hakineseth…How’s about some videos to tell our fellow Jews not to “pile on” against those who have been arrested? How’s about shutting down the disgusting language from the anonymous keyboards of those who would condemn their fellow on hearsay, lashon hara, motza’ei shem ra? Even if true, how’s about a video to urge all to be mithpallel for those who are going through hell right now? Better to learn what not to say first than worry if someone accidentally opened his mouth in beth hakineseth regarding divrei chol inadvertently asking his fellow about a grocery list or some other benign subject matter. For this, we have multiple videos from “Torah Leaders”…Even the goyim know “not to kick another person when he is down.” So many of our be’nei Torah have suddenly become posqim, experts, in hilchoth gezel, hilchoth chillul HaShem, etc., and think they can get on a public forum to tear down their fellow Jew at his worst and lowest point in life. Dear G-d have ra’cha’mim on us despite our cruelty to our fellow. Does anyone still say, “lo ye’anesh shum adam be’siboti….” anymore…or do we just condemn our fellow Jew and actually applaud their public abashment and downfall. Where is the kindness, ra’cha’mim, chus, empathy, tefilloth for those in pain? No, better to hold one’s self up as a model of purity on anonymous chat sites like this where no one will really know YOUR secret avloth, faults, that only HaShem really knows about those who now suddenly are dressed in the purity of cyberspace…Shame on us all…

  17. The Greatest CHILLUS HASHEM is the pure unadulterated SINAS CHINOM you find on this site! FECH!!!!

    How can a yid, bnei Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov be SO CRUEL?

    Especially when we just recently saw how truthful the government and the Justice Department really is.

    And just looking at the so called millions of dollars that were allegedly stolen by these few individuals. Any NORMAL human being will pause and say something doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t add up…. BUT no; the rotten HATE to a fellow yid comes out in the wide open, with big guns shooting hard and fast. Disgusting!!!

    How many millions of $ are being wasted to fight these poor families? and some of these poor families are POOR!!!

  18. SarahLevine613

    you write “Finally, I totally disagree that the FBI and state targeted Jews. That requires proof. Got any?”

    Have you seen any other mass arrest in another community? have any of the Cleaning ladies been rounded up for not reporting the cash business?????? and they get all programs which is a JOKE compared to the $20,000 + per child in public school. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!!!!

    It seems you have so much trust and faith in the goverenment (despite all the latest revilation about how curropt and crooked they are) but, to your fellow Yid you are fast to call them out.

  19. #1 From Long Island

    The cruelty shines out, I hope your family doesn’t see this. We can all see a personal vendetta here, you are as believable as Mrs Clinton on her email story!