Back in July of 2009, an investigation by the FBI and IRS unraveled an elaborate corruption scandal involving numerous public officials in New York and New Jersey, along with a group of Jewish rabbis. On July 23, 2009, the Jerusalem Post reported:
Five rabbis, three New Jersey mayors and two state legislators were arrested Thursday by the FBI in a sting at the end of a two-year investigation into a huge corruption scandal spanning from New York to Israel, involving political bribes, extortion, money-laundering and even organ trafficking.
The rabbis were charged with laundering tens of millions of dollars through charities in the US and Israel. Another Jewish suspect was accused of selling Israeli donors' kidneys for up to $160,000. More than 300 FBI and IRS agents arrested 44 suspects Thursday morning, capping a probe that initially focused on bank fraud within the Syrian Jewish community in Deal, New Jersey, but took on wider political implications.
Television crews captured the drama, including the rounding up of the Orthodox rabbis accused of running a money-laundering network Officials moved in following a two-year investigation that led authorities to separate criminal enterprises, including charges against politicians who accepted cash for political favors. But authorities also charged several rabbis with laundering tens of millions of dollars through charities in the US, Switzerland and Israel.
Among those arrested were Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, state Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith and state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt. Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez, who is also an attorney, is charged with agreeing to accept an illegal $10,000 cash payment for his legal defense fund.
In a separate complaint, several rabbis from Brooklyn and New Jersey were charged with money laundering. The rabbis include Saul Kassin, 87, of Shaarei Zion synagogue in Brooklyn, New York; Eliahu Ben-Haim, 58, rabbi of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal; Edmond Nahum, 56, of the Deal Synagogue; Mordechai Fish, 56, of Congregation Sheves Achim in Brooklyn; and Lavel Schwartz, 57, Fish's brother. They were charged with money laundering. Prosecutors also charged Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, 58, of Brooklyn, for allegedly acquiring and trading human organs.One of the crooked rabbis involved in this horrific, although all too typical, scandal, Saul Kassin of Brooklyn, has officially avoided any jail time for his criminal intrigues:
Rabbi Saul Kassin, a spiritual leader of the Syrian Jewish community in America, was sentenced to two years of probation for illegally sending money to Israel through a charity he operated.Surprise, surprise.
Kassin’s sentencing Wednesday culminated a legal saga that dates back to the summer of 2009, when more than 46 individuals – including Kassin, the chief rabbi of Congregation Shaare Zion in Brooklyn; two rabbis from the Syrian Jewish enclave of Deal, N.J.; and a string of high-ranking elected officials and civil servants – were brought down in a federal sting.
Citing the rabbi’s age, U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano did not give jail time to Kassin, 89, though he fined him $36,750. The sum is in addition to the nearly $370,000 Kassin agreed to give up when he was nabbed in the sting, New Jersey’s largest-ever corruption bust.