The arrests of a Lakewood rabbi, his wife, and several others Monday is just the “first wave” of a federal and state crackdown on public assistance fraud in the Orthodox community.
The second wave is planned for dawn tomorrow when authorities are scheduled to move in on three other couples, according to law enforcement sources. After that, warrants will be served to an unknown number of others by Friday and the investigation is continuing. And growing.
“There are more (arrests) coming,” the source said, who was not authorized to speak on the record. “This is far from over.”
It may be just the beginning.
There is a new scrutiny on Lakewood as the town continues to make headlines. Money-laundering indictments, a school system in financial freefall, unabated development. And now welfare fraud indictments.
The charges against those scheduled to be arrested tomorrow and later in the week, will be similar to those filed Monday.
The indictments say they systematically schemed to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal benefits designed for the poor, some during a period as long as five years.
“We are sending a message to this community that the party is over,” the law enforcement source said.
“The party,” the source refers to are allegations that Orthodox Jews bilk the public assistance systems.