WILLIAMSBURG — Three Brooklyn couples, including a landlord with properties all over the borough, were arrested Tuesday on charges of defrauding the government of $1.3 million worth of benefits.
Shlomo Kubitshuk, 38, and his wife Rachel, 39, Naftali, 40, and Hinda Englander, 41, and Leib, 39, and Devorah Teitelbaum, 36, were accused of lying about their income to the federal government as far back as 2001 in order to collect thousands of dollars worth of food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers and Medicaid.
“For over a decade, this ring of six defendants allegedly lied to city and federal officials about their financial status in order to obtain benefits that were meant for the needy,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
The six were slapped with a multiple counts of conspiracy to steal government funds and theft of government funds, which carry a five and ten year maximum sentence respectively, court documents show.
In two separate complaints unsealed Tuesday, prosecutors said the six benefited from $457,000 in Section 8 vouchers to pay for NYCHA apartments, $130,000 in food stamps and $733,000 in Medicaid payouts.
“At a time when affordable housing is scarce and there is a waiting list for Section 8 vouchers, it is reprehensible that some New Yorkers went without so that these defendants could have still more,” said Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters.
Shlomo Kubitshuk owns multiple properties across Brooklyn, according to prosecutors, including 56 Grattan, 98 Grattan St. and 177 Montrose in East Williamsburg, 327 Melrose St., 318 Melrose St. and 1436 Greene St. in Bushwick and 1144 Bergen St. in Prospect Heights.
The state had records of Kubitshuk taking in $560,000 in rental income in 2013, and in multiple applications for mortgages he said his assets were worth more than $2 million, prosecutors said.
His wife said she took in $300,000 in annual income through another LLC company on a 2013 credit card application, according to the complaint.
Despite that, the pair claimed only $13,409 a year in combined income for around a decade in order to qualify for federal subsidies, federal prosecutors charge.
Naftali Eglander, owner of a U.K. real estate company City Gate Estates Limited worth more than £600,000, and his wife Hinda disclosed only $15,858 in combined annual income between 2001 and 2013, prosecutors said.
Finally Leib Teitlebaum, president of the online jewelry company www.glitzs.com, professed to earn about $1.2 million a year in a 2006 credit application, according to the state, yet disclosed far less.
“These defendants were millionaires stealing from the poor,” said Peters. “The defendants fraudulently concealed their wealth to obtain benefits.”