Officials Of Satmar Central United Talmudic Academy Indicted In $3 Million Fraud Scheme

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.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    A pair of top administrators in a well-known hasidic high school were indicted Thursday for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and four counts of mail fraud. The pair had been arrested in May for allegedly pocketing millions from a program intended to feed needy people.

    Elazar Porges, 43, and Joel Lowy, 29, were both senior staff at the Central United Talmudic Academy, a major school affiliated with the Satmar hasidic sect. Prosecutors allege that they pocketed millions from the U.S. Child and Adult Care Food Program, an initiative meant to feed needy and at-risk children.

    The scheme, which went on from 2014 until 2016, involved inflating the amount of free meals they were giving to children. While they had been offering only breakfast and lunch, they claimed to be offering suppers as well, and were reimbursed by the program to the tune of $3 million.

    “The two allegedly obtained $3 million from a federal program designed to fund meals for needy children by claiming to have served meals they did not serve, thus undermining a program designed to assist the most vulnerable members of our community,” stated Acting United States Attorney Bridget Rohde.

    The duo face 20 years in prison.

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