Seven Jews, including a Rabbi, have been indicted by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), in Rockland, New York, for a fraud scheme which stole over $14 million from the taxpayers in the form of an elaborate scam involving Jewish schools, Jewish teachers, and Jewish IT contractors all working together to defraud the state.
According to a statement issued by the DOJ, Simon Goldbrener, a/k/a “Simon Goldbrenner,” a/k/a “Shimon Goldbrenner,” Peretz Klein, Susan Klein, a/k/a “Suri Klein,” Ben Klein, a/k/a “Benzion Klein,” a/k/a “Benzi Klein,” Moshe Schwartz, Sholem Steinberg, and Aron Melber, a/k/a “Aharon Melber,” have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud charges in connection with the federal program known as “E‑rate,” which provides subsidies for affordable telecommunications equipment and related services to qualified schools.
FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney said in the DOJ statement that the suspects “used funding from a program designed to give underprivileged schools internet access to pad their own bank accounts.
“To add insult to injury, school officials, who see the day-to-day struggle to even find money for pencils and paper, were allegedly involved in the scheme,” Sweeney said.
There were so many Jews from Lakewood stealing money from the scheme that the state comptroller, Philip Degnan, created an “amnesty program” through which those Jews who confessed—and paid back the money they had stolen would not be charged. At least 159 swindlers took up the offer and so far have repaid $2.2 million to the state.