Two Brooklyn yeshiva directors stand accused of defrauding a national school lunch program of millions by claiming they’d provided meals to students that never got served, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Elozer Porges, 43, and Joel Lowy, 29, former directors of the Central United Talmudic Academy yeshiva system in Brooklyn, have been charged with making $3 million in false claims to a federal aid program that provides meals to needy children, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Porges and Lowy, the former executive and assistant directors of the Williamsburg-based schools, filed the allegedly fraudulent Child and Adult Food Care Program claims to the City’s health department between 2013 and 2015, said prosecutors.
The Central United Talmudic Academy has faced several scandals in the past two years.
The Daily News released footage of a teacher giving five-year-old students answers to an official English assessment test in 2015 and Gothamist reported in 2016 that the academy’s head of governmental relations was arrested for fraudulently collecting $30,500 in food stamps benefits.
Porges and Lowy were named in a five-count indictment, released on Thursday, that includes one count of conspiracy and four counts of mail fraud. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.
Porges’ attorney denied the charges brought against his client and told Patch Porges would plead not guilty at the arraignment.
“Not one cent was diverted for anyone’s private interest,” said Henry Mazurek.
Neither Lowy’s attorney nor Central United Talmudic Academy representatives were immediately available to comment.