Four Couples, Including NJ Rabbi, Accused of Welfare Fraud
Four married couples in New Jersey are facing serious charges after allegedly misrepresenting their income to receive more than $1 million in Medicaid, food stamps, and other government programs. One of the couples includes a New Jersey rabbi and his wife.
According to an article on the WTKR website, Zalmen Sorotzkin, a rabbi at the Congregation Lutzk synagogue in Lakewood, was arrested Monday with his wife, Tzipporah, for improper collection of about $340,000 in Medicaid, food stamps, housing and supplemental security income from 2009 to 2014.
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Another couple, Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin, were also arrested. They’re accused of collecting about $585,000 in government benefits, prosecutors said.
Both couples are accused of misrepresenting their income and failing to disclose other sources of income to government agencies in order to receive assistance. Because of their actions, the couples’ incomes were low enough to qualify for government assistance.
All of the couples face charges of second-degree theft by deception.
“Monday’s raids were ‘the first of multiple ongoing arrests’ in Lakewood regarding Medicaid and government assistance fraud, according to the prosecutor’s office,” WTKR reports. “The investigation is being done in conjunction with the FBI, the state comptroller’s office, the Social Security Administration and the state Department of the Treasury, the prosecutor’s office said.”
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said in a statement that financial assistance programs are designed to help families who face hardships and are truly in need.
“My office gave clear guidance and notice to the Lakewood community in 2015 of what is considered financial abuse of these programs. Those who choose to ignore those warnings by seeking to illegally profit on the backs of taxpayers will pay the punitive price of their actions.”
During similar raids on Monday, two other couples, including Zalmen Sorotzkin’s brother Mordechai and his wife, Rachel, were also arrested on federal charges of conspiring to steal government funds.
“The federal complaint alleges that Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin conspired to receive Medicaid benefits over a three-year period despite receiving more than $1.5 million in income. They’re accused of failing to report that income, which would have made them ineligible for the health care benefits,” the article reads. “In a separate case, Yocheved and Shimon Nussbaum allegedly underreported or failed to report their proper income to receive Medicaid, Section 8 housing and food stamps from 2011 to 2014, according to a criminal complaint.”
They earned more than $1 million in both 2012 and 2013, according to the criminal complaint. In all, the Nussbaums accepted about $180,000 in government benefits to which they were not entitled, the complaint said.
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