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DV Pilot Police & Fire

Rabbi admits role in money-laundering scheme

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Mordchai Fish, the principal rabbi of Congregation Sheves Achim in Brooklyn, N.Y., admitted today that he conspired to launder $900,000 he believed were criminal proceeds for Solomon Dwek, the crook-turned-government informant responsible for New Jersey’s largest public-corruption bust ever.

Solomon Dwek

Fish, 58, of Brooklyn, N.Y., told U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano that hatched the scheme using several purported charities that he controlled or had access to.

His take: 10 percent.

Fish was among 44 people charged in a July 23, 2009 federal sweep, made possible by Dwek’s portrayal of a crooked developer — a role he was suited to, given that he’d been convicted of embezzling tens of millions of dollars..

Just last week, the 89-year-old chief rabbi of Congregation Sharee Zion in Brooklyn admitted that he laundered money for Dwek — and took a cut — through the bank account of the Magen Israel Society charitable organization (SEE: Brooklyn rabbi caught during corruption sting admits laundering money through charity)

Dwek, who was working for the government, told Fish the money came from bank fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods, among other crimes.

To hide the money’s source, Fish had Dwek make the checks payable to several charitable organizations — known as gemachs – that purportedly existed to make charitable donations to needy individuals. These included Boyoner Gemilas Chesed, Beth Pinchas, CNE and Levovous.

Once Dwek gave him the checks, Fish admitted in federal court in Trenton, he passed them to a coconspirator who deposited them into bank accounts held in the names of the purported charities.

Fish said he then arranged to make cash available through an underground money transfer network.

This happened at least 15 times, the rabbi admitted.

What he didn’t know was that Dwek was wired, and the cash was “bait” money provided by federal authorities.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation unit with making the case, handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

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