Ramapo Police: Podiatrist, Girlfriend Accused In Murder-For-Hire Plot

RAMAPO, N.Y. — A Rockland County podiatrist and his girlfriend are accused of allegedly plotting to kill the doctor’s wife, police announced Tuesday.

Dr. Ira Bernstein, 41, and Kelly Myzner Grideluk, 36, approached a man who they thought they could hire as a hitman, police said.

“The murder was to appear accidental,” Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma said, adding that it was “for financial gain, because of a possible pending divorce.”

But the hired man, described by Emma as an “exceptional citizen,” went to the police who set up wiretaps.

Police were removing evidence from the doctor’s office in Suffern the day after the arrests.

Bernstein and Grideluk are also accused of plotting to beat up two UnitedHealthcare insurance agents who were investigating the doctor’s podiatry practice.

Police said the two health insurance company investigators agreed to be made up to look as if they had been beaten, in order to make the suspects believe they were dealing with someone who could carry out the alleged plots.

“In addition, they conspired to have two individuals assaulted who were investigating the actions of Dr. Bernstein with regards to his practice for an insurance company,” Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel said.

Bernstein and Grideluk are charged with several counts of conspiracy and solicitation.

“There was money exchanged — I won’t reveal how much — for both conspiracies,” Emma said.

Police said Bernstein’s wife, Susan, is aware of what’s happening.

“She’s aware of all the circumstances surrounding this matter,” Weidel said. “The court has issued stay away orders of protection.”

They are being held on $600,000 bail each.

A Rockland County jury found Bernstein negligent in 2015 when it awarded $1.4 million to a 12-year-old girl for injuries when he operated on her for bunions and fused her growth plates, leaving her foot deformed and unstable during a growth spurt. The girl’s lawyer argued the operation was unnecessary.

In 2014, Bernstein forked over $775,000 to a Nyack woman after a botched bunion operation on her feet when she was 16. The woman is now a teacher and reportedly can’t stand without pain.

Gribeluk’s child-custody battle with her former husband made headlines in The Jewish Week. She’s a former Satmar Hasidic Jew from Monsey who claimed her former husband abused her. Guillermo Gribeluk’s attorney, Eric Thorsen, told the newspaper that his client “vehemently and unequivocally denies” the allegations of abuse.

Gribeluk, who police said also goes by Heidi Morris, was raised in a secular home and became religious at age 21. She claimed Rockland Family Court Judge Sherri Eisenpress favored her ex-husband to maintain her three children’s religious upbringing.

Her case became a rallying cry for religious parents who lost their children in custody fights.

Golland, her lawyer in the criminal case, said she has visitation rights with her children, citing it as one of her local ties.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Authorities in upstate New York said Tuesday that a podiatrist and his girlfriend plotted to kill his wife and have two insurance investigators looking into his business assaulted.

    The Journal News reported that police arrested Ira Bernstein, 41, and Kelly Myzner Gribeluk, 36, Monday, concluding a month long investigation into the pair. Authorities said the probe started when the person the couple contacted about killing Bernstein’s wife alerted the Spring Valley police.

    Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma said the pair thought they man they approached had the connections they needed to get the job done. Emma called the man “an exceptional citizen” for reporting what happened to police.

    “This person had some sort of relationship with one of them,” Emma said. “They asked him to cause injury to Bernstein’s wife to result in her death. They made an assumption he could help them. He doesn’t do those things.”

    Police described Bernstein and Gribeluk as “cold and unemotional” during the meetings with the person they thought was going to go through with their requests.

    Thomas Zugible, the Rockland District Attorney, described the plot as “a despicable plan to take the life of a wife and mother essentially for financial gain.”

    The paper, citing court records, reported that Bernstein had lost two malpractice suits since 2014. He had lost nearly $2 million.

    Officials said the Ira Bernstein, and his wife Susan, have three children and are in the process of finalizing a divorce. Gribeluk, of Aumont, is divorced and has three children who do not live with her.

    Police said Bernstein and Gribeluk are also accused of seeking to have to insurance investigators beaten up, allegedly because they were going to refer potential fraud charges against Bernstein’s podiatry business to the Rockland District Attorney’s Office for investigation.

    According to the Journal News, prosecutor Richard Kennison Moran said he had a strong case against the pair. He evidence included video, audiotapes, wire-tapped telephone conversations and documents exchanges of money. Moran also said Gribeluk had admitted to her role in the alleged crimes.

    Bernstein and Gribeluk were both charged with felony counts of second-degree conspiracy, second-degree solicitation and fourth-degree conspiracy, and a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree solicitation.

    The pair was arraigned Tuesday in Ramapo Town Court. Their bail was set at $600,000 each.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply