Media reports that the father of Solomon Dwek, the central figure in the last month’s federal corruption and money laundering sweep, has renounced his son are apparently false.
The rumor was spread “by a few irresponsible Hebrew-language news sites” within days of the July 23 sweep, according to the site Vos Iz Neias? (“What Is News?”), considered one of the most reliable sources of Orthodox news. It then appeared in media reports here in New Jersey.
However, Voz Iz Neias said it spoke directly with Rabbi Isaac Dwek, a prominent leader of the Sephardic community, who said he “did not renounce his son.”
He told the site he “strongly denounced the phenomenon of a Jew informing on other Jews” during a sermon to his congregation and said that he “is also a victim in this saga.”
The rabbi’s congregation is in Deal, a Jersey Shore town just north of Asbury Park known for its mansions and pricey homes.
One thing is certain: Members of the Serphardic community — an insular group of Iberian and north African descent — feel strongly each way about Solomon Dwek’s decision to participate in the FBI sting after he was charged with swindling several investors of hundreds of millions of dollars three years ago.
(CliffviewPilot.com was the first site to identify Dwek as the FBI’s informant: Meet the cooperator behind N.J.’s biggest corruption bust ever)
“One of (the) core values we embrace is a deep and abiding respect for the law,” said the Sephardic Community Alliance in a posting on the popular Syrian Jewish Web site www.symall.com.
Some have called the younger Dwek “righteous” for helping to bring down a group of rabbis the government has charged with laundering millions of dollars.
Other Syrian Jews — known for their unwavering loyalty — have said the government used him to entrap those who thought of him as their friend.
At the same time, some brand him a snitch — or “moser” — who should be ostracized. They hold the same contempt for him that they did for another convicted swindler from their community, “Crazy Eddie” Antar.
“This is not a man who was so moral that he couldn’t stand other people breaking the law,” a poster to the website FailedMessiah.com wrote. “Solomon [Dwek] is a crook, who swindled his friends and family out of tens of millions, broke every law he could get hold of and then to save his skin turns over people who helped him out his whole life, friends and family.”
The FBI arrested Dwek in 2006 after he deposited a phony $25.2 million check at a PNC Bank drive-through lane and then transferred $21 million to other accounts. Others came forward with proof that he’d swindled them out of hundreds of millions more, records show.
“These allegations are profoundly troubling to us,” the SCA said in its statement. “But at this moment we must remember that they are just allegations. If over time these allegations prove to be true, we must be clear that this conduct is unacceptable and that it goes against every value and teaching our community holds dear.”
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