Thursday, November 13, 2014
Jewish crime: An extended family and several business associates have been indicted on federal charges in a mortgage and welfare fraud scheme that authorities say netted more than $20 million
Federal agents arrested 13 people in pre-dawn raids in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Kiryas Joel and Monroe in Orange County, and Manhattan. Two more people indicted are expected to surrender, authorities said. "The defendants involved alternately played the parts of prince and pauper depending on which scam was being perpetrated," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference in White Plains. "There's a lot of fraud here and shell games. ... The fraud was complex and they were fairly organized." He said that the investigation is continuing. Using falsified documents and concealed identities, the group obtained $20 million in mortgages and other loans from banks and financial institutions, according to the 21-count indictment. Bharara said that some of the defendants doubled dipped, claiming to be rich while obtaining million-dollar loans and mortgages and then pleading poverty — even homelessness — to get welfare payments and social services. They used the money to pay credit card debts, mortgages, and to enrich themselves and their families, authorities said. They also provided charity to residents of Brooklyn, Monroe and Kiryas Joel. FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said that by fraudulently taking social service benefits, they also took money other people truly needed. The indictment includes charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to make false statements to lenders, aggravated identity theft, and theft of public money. Some 20 loans were identified as problematic; the majority of those went into default, Bharara said. The indictment names Yehuda Rubin, 29, as the scheme's organizer, accusing him of participating in 10 fraudulent loans. He acted as a borrower, the borrower's power of attorney, mortgage broker, distributor of the money and arranger of short sales. Rubin and his wife, Rachel, 29, of Monroe, claimed $180 a month and $360 bi-weekly from Rachel Rubin's work to qualify for Medicaid and food stamps, but also claimed a monthly income of $25,000 to get a loans from banks, Bharara said. The borrowers who fraudulently obtained loans included various family members and associates: Yehuda Rubin's father, Irving Rubin, 58, of Brooklyn; Irving Rubin's brothers Abraham Rubin, 51, Jacob Rubin, 41, and Samuel Rubin, 59, all of Brooklyn; another of Irving Rubin sons, Joel Rubin, 33, of Brooklyn; Irving Rubin's wife, Desiree Rubin, 57 of Brooklyn; and other relatives by marriage — Joel Koppel, 30, of Monroe, Rifka Rubin, 46, of Brooklyn, and Benzion Kraus, 29, of Brooklyn. Attorney Martin Kofman, 53, of Brooklyn, is accused of acting as the real estate lawyer on numerous transactions with fraudulent loans. Pinchus Glauber, 53, of Monsey, who provided faulty real estate appraisals, is accused of lying about the details of his review of a property as well as inflating their value. He also is among a number of the defendants accused of fraudulently obtaining public assistance — in his case, $60,400 in food stamps between 2009 and 2014.