Op-Ed: Stories Of Welfare Fraud That (Gasp!) Don’t Involve Orthodox Jews


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

Yes Virginia, there are actually people besides Jews who commit welfare fraud!
The reason I bring this up is not to defend the Lakewood Jews arrested for allegedly defrauding the system, but to show you how rampant this crime actually is — and how easily bilked the system is.

That might not seem clear when the some written media outlets breathlessly cover these arrests as though they’ve never happened before. And delighted as they are to report them, please understand that some newspapers have a long-standing journalistic love affair with stories that involve orthodox Jews. Rare are the stories of this group’s charity, community service, or hard work, though. Some papers just have penchant for front-page, bold-type, above-the-fold “Bad News About Jews” (Hey, kind of a catchy slogan, guys! You ever think about that?).

Now, I’d love to give the aforementioned media outlets the benefit of the doubt right now and assume it’s just because their readership or viewership finds Jews who look differently, dress differently and act differently just downright intriguing! But alas, my gut instinct tells me that it’s a little more than that – from some newspapers’ past reporting of stories that involve Jews Doing Bad Things, it’s obvious that they’re kind of enjoying seeing Jews reflected in this very bad light.

But who can blame them? Lakewood Jews (mostly Orthodox, by the way, not Hasidic) are a tough group to find anything wrong with (their mere Jewishness notwithstanding). So the usual cries of “They’re trying to buy my house!” or “They have so many kids!” or “Their clothes are so weird!” never quite had the teeth that readers were so desperately seeking. Breaking the law, on the other hand? Now you got ’em!!

So as long as the arrests keep coming, you’ll see the unrelenting barrage of some newspapers’ articles not just reporting the news, but reveling in it. Enjoy!

Just to put things into perspective though, and to try to paint a more balanced picture of what really goes on in this country in terms of defrauding government programs meant to help the less fortunate, feast your eyes upon some of these recent stories. Again, they won’t be as juicy and won’t be presented with the usual bloodlust that underscores some reporting, because these don’t involve Jews. But still, here’s a (very) small sampling.

Fraud: How a Florida Mother and Daughter Stole $20 Million From Medicare (Newsweek)

State charges 68 with welfare fraud; two from Lehigh Valley (The Morning Call)

PA Welfare Fraud Crackdown: 344 Charged, $1.78M In Stolen Benefits In 2017, Officials Say (Newtown, PA Patch)

23 charged in Orange County welfare fraud sweep (Recordonline.com)

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


  1. Perhaps if we didn’t have entire communities of frum yidden in Monsey and Lakewood with the highest welfare dependency rates in their respective states, the media wouldn’t focus on multiple arrests for welfare fraud. When large numbers of frum fathers in a segment of the communities proudly announce they will refuse to get a job and instead force taxpayers to support their families, it makes for a very attractive subject of news stories when criminal fraud is alleged.

  2. Kudos to you Judi, for sticking up for your brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, you didn’t go far enough. Your main point is that bilking these programs is so easy that inevitably someone will not be able to resist the temptation. It just so happened that some Jews were also guilty of bilking the system, and it was only newsworthy because it was Jews who are supposed to be holier than thou. However these charges are not in dispute. Everyone assumes that there were some Jews who were caught red handed in defrauding the government.

    But the true facts were never revealed. None of those charged committed any wrongdoing whatsoever. The charges are completely bogus! The narratives presented by law enforcement and aggravated by the media are in best of cases fake news. At worst they are outright falsehoods and in the main so distorted and misleading that they might as well be characterized as lies.

    For example, some individuals were presented as being wealthy after having been on entitlement programs. But there financial success was only recently obtained when they have been off Medicaid and other social programs for more than five years now.

    Others were said to be “residing in homes valued at $885,000.” Who determined that “value”? And what is”residing in” supposed to signify? That these residents are living high off the hog? The Newark Star Ledger did mention that the home was not owned by the residents, but by a synagogue. However, it failed to clarify that most of the home is indeed used regularly by the synagogue, and the family of seven live there in only two bedrooms.

    Is anyone aware that law enforcement new good and well that the charges were false, but they proceeded anyway, and treated those unfortunate innocent people with utter contempt/

    I could write a book about this horrible travesty of justice, but this venue is rather limited. Let me just close withe my opinion that this “aktzion” was not the apprehension of people in the act of committing a crime. This was the apprehension of people who are considered by some to be criminals by nature because of their beliefs. The crime that they are or will be charged with is not really the point. They must be guilty of something, right?

  3. Please stop whitewashing what happened. I would like to see “unzer Yidden” careful about stealing and earning kosher money the way they are so makpid about kashrus. “Lo Signov” is one of the 10 commandments that unfortunately is so flagrantly violated. It is very sad that Landsend and many companies do not extend their return policy to our neighborhoods who abuse this policy by returning an outgrown outfit for the next size. Furthermore, frum people whom I know personally refuse to do business in these neighborhoods since they extended credit which was never paid. Please stop blaming anti-semitism and minimizing the tragedy; instead focus on changing the behavior that caused such a tragedy. It is time we worry about how we appear to the goyim since we are supposed to be a beacon onto the nations and more is expected of us. If we don’t deliver than Eisav has a powerful claim. This tragedy gives Eisav a strong case against us; this article about goyim committing the sin makes me want to vomit since you are not getting the essence of the tragedy. Please stop complaining about anti-semitism and focus on making a kiddush Hashem.

  4. It’s sad to say but these articles are not what we need. We need to know the absolute truth that eisav sonah es Yaakov!!! And we shouldn’t feel so comfortable here. Why? Because we don’t belong in galus we belong in Israel with the bais hamikdash. We must eternilize this before it’s too late. It’s the 3 weeks now let us resolve to start yearning for the geula and if u want to start somewhere go to your local book store and pick up a book called “Yearning with Fire” read it from cover to cover it will do you much good.

  5. Thank you Judi for putting things into perspective. Not condoning it nor excusing it. Just saying we’re not the worst thing this world has ever seen.

  6. congratulations on showing this embarrassing episode in its proper light. Its time for us to wake up and realize that there is antisemitism in the US and we should lay low and not publicize ourselves. people are jealous of us and are looking for ways to get us, and we should not be flaunting our wealth with fancy homes and cars and big simchos. that is the bare truth and the reason they enjoy incriminating us. chazal say this and so have the gedolim for years but no one listens…..

  7. You missed it, Mrs. Franco. quite a shallow essay.

    Put the newspaper aside and forget about stigma and who is and isn’t a worse offender… There’s law here that has been broken – and for a group, aside from the particular garb that they don, that has breached those laws, which is sadly rampant in our communities, who pride themselves on their wonderful charity that they do, this clearly erases all that good. People love gossip and this is something that will ring in the ears and anyone who’s ever going to try to build their self esteem. It’s horrible that this is happening, and is continuing to happen and making excuses that someone else does it too, or worse, is in no way an excuse.

  8. One can clearly see who is a gilgil of the eiriv Rav, who can wait to talk against another yid.

    The rishas is beyond comprehension!!!!!

    Please don’t tell me about Lo Signov. You are a soneh Yisroel!!!!! We recently read about u in the Haftoreh. The haters from within!!! Fech!!!

  9. I meant to right who CAN’T wait to talk negative about another yid. The worst rishas is when someone uses the Torah to be a Rosheh!

    Keep bringing up Lo Signov, and chillul Hashem… this is the biggest chillul Hashem as yidden talk negative about their own brothers , especially with such achzories, that past for the Nazis.

  10. “‘We have a failure in our community that we have to address,’ Rabbi Aaron Kotler, leader of the world’s largest yeshiva outside of Israel told NJ.com. ‘Theft is wrong. We need to do better to educate people.'”

    That says it all. Enough with the whitewashing and claims of anti-semitism.

  11. @y2r, thou protest too much. I wonder who belongs to the eirev rav? Eirev RAV, their population was greater than that of legitimate bnei yisroel. Someoune who has a problem discussing “lo signov” without being insulting has me wondering whether his yichus is not flawed.