Rabbi among those arrested in NJ benefits fraud investigation
Rabbi Zalmen Sorotzkin, 39, who runs the Congregation Lutzk synagogue in Lakewood, New Jersey, was caught up today (Monday) in a series of raids by federal and state authorities investigating welfare fraud. His wife and three other couples were arrested.
According to this report, federal prosecutors said the arrests stemmed from a massive joint investigation by the FBI, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the state Comptroller’s Office, the state Treasury Department’s Office of Criminal Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration and Lakewood police.
The defendants are accused of collecting $1.3 million in unearned benefits.
State Comptroller Philip James said:
This operation highlights the success of federal, state and county cooperation in New Jersey’s effort to combat Medicaid and other government benefits fraud.
My office will continue to ensure that only individuals and families truly in need of benefits receive them, and that those who choose to steal from New Jersey taxpayers are referred for prosecution.
The US Attorney’s Office said Zalmen and Tzipporah Sorotzkin have been charged in state Superior Court with second-degree theft by deception for wrongfully collecting approximately $338,642 in Medicaid, SNAP, Housing and Urban Development, and Supplemental Security Income benefits between January 2009 and April 2014.
Investigators said Rachel Sorotzkin failed to disclose payments of as much as $1 million she received in tax years 2012 and 2013 after becoming a partner in a limited-liability company, which was not named in the complaint. The couple later used at least $96,000 of the Medicaid funds they weren’t entitled to for their own medical expenses or those of their children, the complaint states.
State prosecutors have also charged Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin, above, with second-degree theft by deception for wrongfully collecting approximately $585,662 in Medicaid, SNAP, HUD and SSI benefits between January 2009 through December 2014, authorities said.
Shimon Nussbaum, 42, and his wife Yocheved face similar charges under a federal complaint filed the same day as the Sorotzkins. They are accused of having controlled numerous bank accounts opened under the names of relatives to cover personal expenses.