Lakewood: Arrests Continue In Welfare Fraud Investigation

LAKEWOOD – Six people were arrested Tuesday night in federal and state raids in connection with an ongoing investigation that has so far exposed about $2 million in alleged public-assistance fraud in the town.

State authorities raided three homes Tuesday night, after raiding four homes and arresting eight people Monday on charges of stealing $1.3 million in public assistance.

Formal charges in Tuesdays arrests aren’t yet known, but the six people are accused of defrauding the government of more than $600,000, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation.

The arrests and raids were originally scheduled for Wednesday morning, but the prosecutor moved them up due to media reports on Tuesday afternoon.

“These continued arrests demonstrate the partner agencies’ vigilance in addressing government-benefits fraud in the Lakewood community and holding those who steal from New Jersey taxpayers accountable for their actions,” said the source, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

and Sora Kanarek, of 15 Brisk Lane; Chaim and Liatt Ehrman, of 501 Twin Oaks Drive; and William and Faigy Friedman, of 36 Leigh Drive, sources close to the investigation said.

Faigy Friedman is listed as the registered agent of a company called Pay-Per Payroll Services, LLC, public records show. A brochure for the company lists her home address as the address of the business, which offers payroll services to small businesses. Registered agents are required by the state as a point of contact for a business and are not necessarily the owner of the company.

Chaim Ehrman is listed as the registered agent of three businesses, according to public records. They are Buy it By Cases, The Jewelers List and True Hue, a cosmetics company. The businesses are not expected to be named in any of the charges, according to law enforcement officials.

4 replies
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    LAKEWOOD-Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and State Comptroller Philip James Degnan announced today additional ongoing arrests within Lakewood, New Jersey by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for defrauding Medicaid and government assistance programs. The investigations initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Red Bank Office and the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller – Medicaid Fraud Division, were expanded to include the US Social Security Administration, New Jersey Department of the Treasury – Office of Criminal Investigation, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office – Economic Crimes Unit. The arrests made just before midnight (6/27), include charges of individuals collecting illegal benefits in the six-figure range.

    OCPO detectives/prosecutors, along with its collaborating agencies, continued Monday’s operation by arresting the following three married couples. Hearings are scheduled for 1:30 pm today (6/28) at Ocean County Superior Court.

    Yitzchock, 33, and Sora, 39, Kanarek of Brisk Lane – charged with 2nd Degree Theft by Deception for wrongfully collecting approximately $339,002.56 in Medicaid, SNAP, HUD, and SSI benefits between January 2009 and July 2014.
    Chaim, 40, and Liatt, 39, Ehrman of Twin Oaks Drive – charged with 2nd Degree Theft by Deception for wrongfully collecting approximately $185,692.22 in Medicaid, SNAP, HEAP, and Sandy benefits between January 2011 and December 2015
    William, 45, and Faigy, 40, Friedman of Leigh Drive – charged with 2nd Degree Theft by Deception for wrongfully collecting approximately $149,842.28 in Medicaid, SNAP, HEAP, and HUDbenefits between January 2011 and December 2015.
    The nature of the criminal events investigated and basic charges allege that the defendants misrepresented their income, declaring amounts that were low enough to receive the program’s benefits, when in fact their income was too high to qualify. The investigations revealed that the defendants’ received income from numerous sources that they failed to disclose on required program applications. As a result, they received benefits that they were not entitled to under these programs for themselves or family members. The Ocean County Prosecutors Office is prosecuting the above arrested individuals at the state level.

    The investigation by all the participating agencies is continuing and additional arrests are forthcoming. OCPO and our prosecuting partners may add additional relevant charges (ie. Tax charges) as each case proceeds through the legal process. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sergeant Mark Malinowski of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 929-2027.

    .

  2. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    LAKEWOOD, NJ — Six more people were arrested Tuesday night on charges of defrauding the government out of more than $670,000 in the ongoing investigation into public assistance fraud in Lakewood, the Ocean County prosecutor’s office said Wednesday.

    The arrests of Yitzchock Kanarek, 33, and Sora Kanarek, 39; Chaim Ehrman, 40, and Liatt Ehrman, 39, and William Friedman, 45, and Faigy Friedman, 45, happened shortly before midnight Tuesday night, the prosecutor’s office said.

    Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and State Comptroller Philip James Degnan, in a joint announcement, said the arrests, like the ones Monday, relate to charges of defrauding Medicaid and government assistance programs.

    Initial hearings for the three couples are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Ocean County Superior Court, the prosecutor’s office said.

    The Kanareks, of Brisk Lane, are charged with second-degree theft by deception, accused of wrongfully collecting at least $339,002.56 in Medicaid, SNAP, HUD, and SSI benefits between January 2009 and July 2014, the prosecutor’s office said.

    The Ehrmans, of Twin Oaks Drive, are charged with second-degree theft by deception, accused of wrongfully collecting at least $185,692.22 in Medicaid, SNAP, HEAP (a utilities assistance program) and Superstorm Sandy benefits between January 2011 and December 2015, the prosecutor’s office said.

    The Friedmans, of Leigh Drive, are charged with second-degree theft by deception, accused of wrongfully collecting at least $149,842.28 in Medicaid, SNAP, HEAP, and HUD benefits between January 2011 and December 2015, the prosecutor’s office said.

    s reportedly have caused residents to call Ocean County Social Services in Toms River to cancel their public assistance or update their income information, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.

    The Press and NJ.com on Tuesday reported that

    Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sergeant Mark Malinowski of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 929-2027.

  3. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    More than a dozen welfare cheats bilked taxpayers out of nearly $2 million in ill-gotten public benefits, New Jersey prosecutors said Wednesday.

    Six Lakewood residents were arrested late Tuesday night after eight others from the same south Jersey town got pinched on Monday, according the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, leading a joint local-federal probe.

    “The nature of the criminal events and basic charges allege that the defendants misrepresented their income, declaring amounts that were low enough to receive the program’s benefits when in fact their income was too high,” according to a statement by county prosecutors.

    Three married couples busted on Tuesday were:

    Yitzchock Kanarek, 33, and Sora Kanarek, 39, who are accused of wrongfully receiving $339,002.56 in Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security and HUD benefits between January 2009 and July 2014.
    Chaim Ehrman, 40, and Liatt Ehrman, 39, who allegedly scammed their way into $185,692 in Medicaid, food stamps, home -energy supplements and Hurricane Sandy benefits between January 2011 through December, 2015.
    William Friedman, 45, and Faigy Friedman, 40, who are accused of reeling in $149,842 in Medicaid, home -energy supplements and HUB benefits in between January, 2011, and December, 2015.
    A day earlier, eight Lakewood residents were busted in similar scams that bilked taxpayers of about $1.2 million, authorities said.

  4. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Nearly 15 people have been arrested in raids over two days in a New Jersey community in connection with an ongoing investigation that has so far exposed about $2 million in alleged public-assistance fraud in the town.

    Six people were arrested Tuesday night in Lakewood, N.J., a community of about 101,000, nearly 38 miles southeast of Trenton, the state capital. The arrests follow the federal and state raids of four homes and arrests of eight people Monday on charges of stealing $1.3 million in public assistance over the last few years.

    Lakewood is the fastest-growing town in New Jersey and surpassed 100,000 residents earlier this year, according to the Census Bureau. In the town, 32% of people live in poverty, Census figures show. Lakewood’s rapid population growth is fueled by a flourishing Orthodox Jewish community.

    Each of the six people arrested Tuesday is facing a charge of second-degree theft by deception, a state crime, according to a prepared statement from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

    The six people are accused of defrauding the government of just more than $670,000, according to the prosecutor’s office.

    Arrested Tuesday were: Yitzchok and Sora Kanarek; Chaim and Liatt Ehrman; and William and Faigy Friedman.

    The Kanareks wrongfully collected $339,002.56 in Medicaid, nutrition assistance, Social Security and federal housing funds, according to the prosecutor’s office. The Ehrmans brought in $185,692.22 in improper Medicaid, nutrition assistance, utilities assistance and Sandy relief funds and the Friedmans bilked $149,842.28 in Medicaid, food, energy and housing funds, according to the prosecutor’s office.

    Yitzchok Kanarek is the former rabbi of Oros Yisroel, a school for special-needs students that closed in 2015 because of federal and state tax liens of more than $295,000, according to public records.

    The six people arrested Tuesday are accused of under-reporting their incomes over a period of several years to collect public-assistance benefits they weren’t entitled to receive.

    Authorities “allege that the defendants misrepresented their income, declaring amounts that were low enough to receive the program’s benefits, when in fact their income was too high to qualify,” according to a joint statement from Ocean County (N.J.) Prosecutor Joe Coronato and New Jersey Comptroller Phillip James Degnan. The families “received income from numerous sources that they failed to disclose on required program applications.”

    On Monday, a prominent rabbi, Zalmen Sorotzkin, who runs the synagogue Congregation Lutzk and businesses linked to the synagogue, was arrested. The others arrested Monday included, Sorotzkin’s wife, Tzipporah; his brother and sister-in-law Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin; Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin; and Shimon and Yocheved Nussbaum. Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin and the Nussbaums face federal charges in U.S. District Court.

    “Financial assistance programs are designed to alleviate family hardships for those truly in need,” Coronato said in a statement Monday. “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.”

    Duvi Honig, the CEO of the Lakewood-based Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, said that thousands of Jewish families in the town need the public assistance to get by and that some people are tempted to take more than they need.

    “The pressure of the community overhead — especially the (cost of) private schooling — is unsustainable,” he said about the Jewish community. “People are forced to find ways to bend the system.”

    The Breskins are charged with second-degree theft by deception for allegedly collecting $585,662 in public assistance benefits they weren’t entitled to, the prosecutor said in the statement.

    Zalmen and Tzipporah Sorotzkin face the same charges for allegedly collecting $338,642 in Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8 housing subsidies and Supplemental Security Income, according to the prosecutor’s office.

    Edward Bertucio, attorney for Zalmen and Tzipporah Sorotzkin said his clients were “innocent” but declined to comment specifically on the case.

    The Nussbaums allegedly under-reported their incomes and failed to disclose money they received from a number of companies in order to collect Medicaid, Section 8 housing assistance and food stamps between 2011 and 2014, according to a federal complaint signed by FBI Special Agent Michael Farina.

    In that time, the Nussbaums allegedly collected $178,762 in public assistance they weren’t entitled to get.

    The complaint against Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin accuses them of also under-reporting their incomes to collect Medicaid. Rachel Sorotzkin allegedly failed to report $1.5 million she received from a limited liability company when signing up for public assistance.

    In the complaint, Farina wrote that Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin received more than $96,000 in Medicaid funds they shouldn’t have claimed.

    The Nussbaums and Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin face separate counts of conspiring to steal government funds, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office. The conspiracy counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain from the offense.

    Fred Zemel, the attorney for Rachel Sorotzkin, said “everything’s going to work out” and all the defendants “will be vindicated.”

    The investigation into the alleged public-assistance fraud began around three years ago and now comprises a variety of federal and state law enforcement agencies. The FBI, the Social Security Administration, the New Jersey Treasury Department, the state comptroller’s Medicaid Fraud Division and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office all have been investigating.

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