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.