PHOTOS: Massive FBI Raids Across NY NJ; Politicians & ‘Rabbis’ Among Arrested; Deal Yeshiva & Ohel Yaakov Shul Raided – UPDATED 11:18AM EST

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ywbn15.gif[PHOTOS & UPDATES BELOW] Federal authorities arrested dozens of people today in New York and New Jersey as part of a money laundering and corruption sweep. Those arrested included several New Jersey public officials and “rabbis”, according to an Associated Press report.

The FBI was seen at locations in Flatbush, Boro Park, and Williamsburg.

According to the NJ Star ledger, the suspects are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Newark later today. Those arrested include Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus Mayor Denis Elwell and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Baldini, and Jersey City Council President Mario Vega.

Nearly 20 people, including Cammarno, Elwell, and Vega, have already been lead into the FBI building in Newark to face the charges.

UPDATE 9:30AM EST: The arrests are the result of a two year probe that began with an investigation of money transfers by members of the Syrian Jewish Communities in Deal, NJ and Brooklyn. According to the NJ Star Ledger, those arrested this morning include “key religious leaders in the tight-night, wealthy communities”.

The federal investigation then expanded into a public corruption probe.

No indictments have been released, though court appearances are expected later today in U.S. District Court in Newark. Nearly 20 people have already been led into the FBI building in Newark as the sweep continues to unfold in two states.

Agents also raided religious institutions to make arrests and collect information.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the IRS took out at least three boxes from the Deal Yeshiva, as students were arriving at the school. The Deal Yeshiva, on the corner of Brighton and Norwood avenues, is a prestigious religious school in town.

Authorities also searched the Ohel Yaacob synagogue on Ocean Avenue in Deal and removed several boxes.

fbw.jpgUPDATE 10:10AM EST: The FBI has just arrested two individuals at South 8th Street and Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg.

UPDATE 10:15AM EST: Another person just arrested from a 13th Avenue location.

UPDATE 10:27AM EST: Federal Agents are now on Lee Avenue & Wilson Avenue in Williamsburg; a total of 4 people have been arrested in Williamsburg this morning so far.

UPDATE 10:30AM EST: UNCONFIRMED: FBI Agents were in the Union City Jewish Community earlier Thursday morning. It is unknown if any arrests were made.

UPDATE 10:48AM EST: A YWN reporter in Williamsburg tells us that the FBI is currently carrying out dozens of boxes from a Williamsburg office on Lee Avenue near Wilson. The NYPD has been called for crowd control.

UPDATE 11:18PM EST: There will be a public gathering to recite Tehillim on behalf of those arrested – including the Rabbonim from Deal who were taken into custody – at Shaarei Zion on Ocean Parkway and Avenue T at 12:00PM Thursday (today). 

YWN PHOTO LINK: Click HERE for YWN photos by Shimon Gifter

(Source: NJ Star Ledger / Associated Press / NBC New York / WCBSTV / FBI)




58 COMMENTS

  1. Oh dear. When the American police arrest someone, it is usually for doing something illegal (unlike another country’s police we’ve been talking about lately)

  2. I wish these reporters would stop calling every frum-dressed person (chassidish/yeshivish) “rabbi”.All chassidim dress that way and they are not rabbis or even really frum. Big black hats ,black suits,white shirts,side burns and curls are just that;-DISGUISES and MASKS-not what make a person a rabbi. However,that is how our people project themselves to the general public,secular Jews and the rest of society see us that way. In this time of tzoro,we do not need our own to add to the troubles. May Hashem show His mercy,even if not deserved.

  3. #9, I have to agree with #2, part of the problem is media created, but part of the problem is also the fact that far too many people have gotten into the habit of referring to just about anyone as Rabbi. When politicians and/or media see a Jew with a beard they automatically assume “Rabbi” and they address the person as such. The problem is no one corrects them. The larger a “group” gets, the more weak points there are.

    #11, the investigation was going on for 2 years.

  4. No doubt that we must wait for the “real facts” before drawing conclusions. However when will are mosdos begin to tesch and empasize the supreme importance of honesty. We are all so frum but are we ehrlich.

  5. Why dont’t the writers here like allways put the blame on the chasidim and finished ?
    So what if this is the siryen comunity ?
    People will still belive thet they are chasidish.

  6. The New York Times seems to think it is primarily a raid on New Jersey politicians, so perhaps it is a good argument why one shouldn’t associate with politicians (not my idea, see Pirke Avot)

  7. #22

    Even worse!

    Any mossad gaining corrupt money is not worth being open. Such a place is not “the very lifeblood of our community”.

    Or at least it shouldn’t be!

  8. Tehillim for those arrested??? That’s all??? How about Tehillim that the gross Chillul Hashem shouldn’t lead to a pogrom?!?

  9. This is an absolute disgrace…
    How often are the problems in our community blamed on riding bikes on shabbat or women not dressing modestly enough. Is there any rabbi in this community that has put the focus on “honest business dealings”?? This is an absolute Chilul Hashem.

  10. Mt Mehdi said: “and even if the allegations are CH’V true we still shouldnt jump to conclusions because i’m sure that the money wasnt used for fancy lifestyle like the goym but is used to support moisdois hatorah.”

    The Klausenberger Rebbe zt’l repeatedly stressed that Chinuch funded by money which isn’t kosher is a metaphysical reason for kid’s going off the derech. It’s no excuse.

  11. Mt Mehdi, using stolen money to support Torah is wrong.

    I hope the Jews are innocent, but I find it hard to believe with so many arrests that they all are. The police are usually pretty thorough with gather indictable evidence.

  12. and even if the allegations are CH’V true we still shouldnt jump to conclusions because i’m sure that the money wasnt used for fancy lifestyle like the goym but is used to support moisdois hatorah.

    Comment by mt mehdi — July 23, 2009 @ 11:04 am

    I hope you are joking. To even imply such a thing is sick. Stealing is stealing regardless of where the money is going. Using it to support so called “moisdois hatorah” is no better than supporting a lavish lifestyle. It is an attitude like that, that it’s OK if the money is going to tzedakah that leads to these unfortunate situations to begin with. I hope you were joking to try and lighten up the mood in the nine days. What a sad comment.

  13. re comment #14 – You not only have an undertone, but also an overtone of dislike of Jewish people who dress like JEWISH people should, who have hairstyles like Jewish people should, rather than their being influenced by goyishe dress style etc. Although your other points are cogent, you should not write this way about your fellow Yidden. It shows a warped value system, likely created by goyishe osmosis. Again, I am not commenting on the actual issue at hand.

  14. When Rav Schwab ZT”L was once asked if one may “discuss” with IRS agents who are investigating a frum business, he refused to answer the question. When asked why not, he replied, “You called the person a “frum yid”. A person who steals money is not frum!”

  15. EVERY MAJOR NEWSPAPER HAS HEADLINE “MAYORS, RABBIS”

    Only The “JEWISH” Week has RABBIS, MAYORS”

    You gotta love those self hating Jews

  16. Could it be that Hashem is testing us in the 9 days to see if we can be dan each other lekaf zehus?
    No one here knows any facts yet, yet there seem to be many opinions already.

  17. Don’t forget to blame the women’s lack of tznius for the reason these men may be gonovim. People, wake up, there is an avoda zarah these days called money. People will sacrifice their children, freedom and their lives as in the days of yore on behalf of this avoda zarah. How about teaching men to make a living honestly with a honored profession so that they don’t feel compelled to commit crimes to maintain the frum lifestyle.

  18. This Story is a Nissayon. Hashem is testing us to see if we are Poalei Tsedek.

    How many of us are siiting glued to the internet for updates and surfing all the Jewish and MSM newssites instead of worjking for our employers as we shoule be doing?

  19. The psak of R’ Chaim (regarding the young man driving without a license) is still ringing in my ears. According to the psak, one who does something wrong can perhaps benefit from being reformed in jail. Where do we draw the line between saying one person deserves jail and another does not?

  20. #29 ….and the mekor is from the ‘agrah deperka’ by the ‘benaei yissachar’. the holy rabbi of dinev goes into the subject of ‘how can there be children from ehrliche home to grow up to be (what we label as borderline, on the fringe)….because they were reared with not honestly earned money

  21. HNBY, I think they have that title because being the JEWISH Week, their readers have a bigger interest in the Jewish aspect of the story than the average national reader.

  22. Yes, we should say tehillim. Not for those arrested (by the way, the FBI doesn’t arrest people after 2 years of investigation unless there were wiretaps and other such hard proof). The tehillim is for the families of the frum men arrested – their wives who will be single mothers while the husbands sit in jail, their children who need shidduchim and who will be damaged,and for the broad community who will have to provide financial support while the men are behind bars.

    Years ago, I worked on a political campaign in New Jersey. I was astonished that some of the frum Jews involved acted worse than the non-Jews. Needless to say, I didn’t finish the campaign – I went back to DC where the politics were cleaner. This is nothing new in Jersey politics…but anyone who thinks that we are less guilty than the frum Jews involved – when we don’t pay a parking meter, when we steal someone’s sleep, when we speak lashon hara – whatever it is, none of us are perfect. We are just fortunate that our lives are not as exposed as these men today. The chillul hashem created here is not their own fault – it’s our own for not working harder to ensure that more mussar and higher ethical standards are taught in our classrooms from day one. less gemara, more mussar. I think that will be carried over now when communities will be forced to teach their students and children why so many fathers or “Rabbis” are behind bars.

  23. since the media can not wright JEWS arrested (for racial reasons) they resort to using the term RABBI which is nonracial to inform their readers that the are yidden involved in these arrests!!!
    no necessarily because they actually believe or have checked out if they have smicha.
    For example the BBC’s headlines are RABBI’S ARRESTED not mayor’s or goverment officials.

  24. My grandfather, a”h, was a Rosh Hakahal in his town in Austria before the war. The mayor (non-Jew) of the town asked him once to do a deal (not Legal, of course)with him that would net them both a large sum of money. My Opa answered him simply – no, I don’t want to get into a situation where I have to be scared of a knock on my door in middle of the night.

    When will we ever learn – monkey business always catches up with you, and then you, along with many innocent people, suffer the consequences. (And I’m referring to down here, never mind what happens after 120)

    P.S. The knock on my grandfather’s door, unfortunately came, when the Nazis Y”MS took over. By then, however, he was gone, smuggled into a different country. (“Illegally”, obvoiusly…)

  25. # 38, mkarpas,

    What makes you think that we dont sit at our comfortable downtown Manhattan offices working for our employers while being glued to the internet ,or YWN for that matter , and surfing for todays’ story updates,

  26. KAJ WH TIDE: actually some of them are real rabbis- no joke, there are articles elsewhere with the names and youll see their names

  27. Let’s understand how this works:

    First, the Government starves the Yeshivas by taxing their parents to fund the bloated public school systems.

    Then, the Government refuses to allocate a fair share of the school taxes to the Yeshiva parents for their chilren’s Yeshiva education, fraudulently claiming “Church and State Separation.”

    Then, the Yeshivos desperately seek sources of funding to avoid bankruptcy.

    Then, Rabbis and other compassionate people try unconventional techniques which skirt the law to help out the situation.

    The Government knows this will happen. They gather evidence and lie in wait.

    When the time comes –presto–a ready-made criminal indictment.

    When so many Yidden are involved, and the charge is a vague catch-all, like “Money Laundering,” I suspect that the Government is up to no good.

    My theory–unproven–is that this is an attack on the Syrian community, which is the main backer of the “Settlers” in Israel in their battle to survive against the State Department’s “Piece Process.”

  28. I disagree with the icon that says YESHIVA WORLD BREAKING NEWS. I believe it would be more correct to be YESHIVA WORLD HEART BREAKING NEWS.

  29. #4 less gemmorah, more mussar? and gemmorah isnt full of mussar?…i havent seen any subject in mussar that is not expounded in gemmorah.

  30. I think everyone who is defending these people baised strictly on the fact they are Jewish is a fool. We are no different than others in the respect there are good and bad of every kind. Some claim to be frum, but they cheat, steal, etc. which all of us should find a disgrace. Actually I am MUCH more offended by someone who claims to be frum doing evil things than those who are not observant. We should wait and see who is charged and what the charges are, but please don’t be sheep and follow these so called Jews into doing illegal, unethical and immoral things.

  31. Response to #55

    “First, the Government starves the Yeshivas by taxing their parents to fund the bloated public school systems.”

    Guaranteed education is one of the reasons this country is so great. Just because you don’t use a library or drive on a particular road doesn’t mean that, as a community/country, we shouldn’t pay for it.

    “Then, the Government refuses to allocate a fair share of the school taxes to the Yeshiva parents for their chilren’s Yeshiva education, fraudulently claiming “Church and State Separation.””

    How would you like it if the government gave monet to Muslims to start madrasas all over? Would you be ok with that? The government guarantees an education and provides that education. I don’t see why you feel the government HAS to give yeshivas money.

    “Then, the Yeshivos desperately seek sources of funding to avoid bankruptcy.”

    You mean through illegal means?

    “Then, Rabbis and other compassionate people try unconventional techniques which skirt the law to help out the situation.”

    Oh, so by unconventional, you mean illegal. Right. So you’re saying it’s OK to break the law to help yeshivas? Is that what you teach your kids?

    “The Government knows this will happen. They gather evidence and lie in wait.”

    As they should. THEY’RE BREAKING THE LAW! Why are you surprised that the government wants to catch them?

    “When the time comes –presto–a ready-made criminal indictment.”

    Maybe if we earned our money like the rest of the law-abiding country, and raised money like ethical non-profits, we wouldn’t have any indictments.

    “When so many Yidden are involved, and the charge is a vague catch-all, like “Money Laundering,” I suspect that the Government is up to no good.”

    Well, suspect all you want but it’s not a conspiracy. These guys were doing something illegal which you agree with (see your comments above). So why are you surprised?

    “My theory–unproven–is that this is an attack on the Syrian community, which is the main backer of the “Settlers” in Israel in their battle to survive against the State Department’s “Piece Process.””

    Your theory is base-less. The Orthodox community is actually just a tiny portion (the Syrian community being even a smaller portion) of the Israeli support (monetary and vocally) system in the US. Christian fundamentalists give more to Israeli causes than Orthodox Jews.

  32. Please, Sammygol, it’s not just people who go by rabbi just because they have smicha. People call every one rabbi or rebatzin without knowing what the proper title is. It’s become the de facto address.

  33. Notice to all comment writers:

    Please STOP writing “Chilul Hashem” – “Chilul Hashem”!! We all KNOW that!! If you don’t have anything substantial to comment – PLEASE DON”T! You are wasting time and space. Thank You.

  34. first of all, the one who ratted on them falls under the category of “minim v’malshinim” and as far as im concerned, this chillul hashem is, in big part, on his hands.
    the rabbis did wrong 100%- very wrong. but honestly, do u think they took the 10% and bought a yacht? i know some of these rabbis personally and i know people that some of them have helped personally.
    it is very possible and likely that most of this money went to tzedakah. now dont get me wrong, it is a terrible way to collect and absolutely unjustifiable. do you have any idea how many calls these rabbis get daily from ppl in need? ppl who are going hungry because they lost their jobs. widows and orphans with no one to pay their rent?? we dont know what the rabbis are dealing with. and its not a secret that ppl arent giving as much charity as they used to, while in a time like this charity is unfortunately needed by many.
    either way money laundering is not ok we have to follow the laws of the country we live in, this is halacha. but dont be so quick to talk and judge… dont forget the quicker u are to judge others, the quicker u will be judged in beit din shel maala. so keep posting and talking, ur just giving more power to ur prosecutor in heaven. hashem is the only judge.

  35. This is the result of the yeshivas teaching gemarah all day and not enough ethics or morals with regard to mitzvot ben adam lechavero.

  36. Seems like all bases were covered…

    Now that everyone got it out of their systems (even the 400+ comments which were not approved…)…

    This forum will now be closed!

    Besuros Tovos!

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