New York – Former Officials Of Satmar Central United Talmudic Academy Indicted In $3 Million Fraud Scheme


    New York – A five-count indictment was unsealed today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Elozer Porges and Joel Lowy, the former Executive Director and former Assistant Director, respectively, of the school system known as Central United Talmudic Academy (CUTA) in Brooklyn, New York, with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and four counts of mail fraud.

    The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky at the Brooklyn federal courthouse.

    The charges were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Mark Peters, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation, and Special Agent-in-Charge, Bethanne M. Dinkins, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.

    As alleged in the indictment, between 2013 and 2015, Porges and Lowy submitted documents to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) that falsely claimed that school children had received meals which, in fact, they had never been served. The defendants fraudulently inflated the number of meals served at various CUTA schools in order to obtain larger reimbursement payments pursuant to the federal government’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The CACFP is a program designed to assist schools and other institutions in providing meals to, among others, at-risk children. In total, Porges and Lowy, based on their false representations, fraudulently obtained approximately $3 million in reimbursement payments to CUTA.

    “Former CUTA Executive Director Porges and Assistant Director Lowy allegedly obtained $3 million from a federal program designed to fund meals for needy children by claiming to have served meals they did not serve, thus undermining a program designed to assist the most vulnerable members of our community,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to root out fraudulent schemes that misuse public funds.”

    “The Child and Adult Care Food Program strives to provide for at-risk children, and as school officials, Porges and Lowy should have strived to do the same,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Instead, they allegedly falsified documents to gain approximately $3 million in reimbursement for meals that were never served. To defraud programs designed to help those in need is simply inexcusable, and we will work relentlessly with our law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate these frauds.”

    “As charged, these defendants stole food from children in need by diverting millions of dollars in public funds intended to pay for their dinners,” stated DOI Commissioner Peters. “Public funds must be spent for public purposes and, when they are not, DOI will expose the fraud and arrest the wrongdoers. DOI thanks our dedicated law enforcement partners on this case: the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Inspector General for the United States Department of Agriculture.”

    “The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) was created to provide nutrition assistance to children and adults who are truly in need,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge Dinkins. “Those involved in fraud and abuse of USDA feeding programs will be investigated by our office to the fullest extent. In this joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Department of Investigation, we worked together to identify and hold accountable those who sought to profit from the CACFP through illegal schemes. The USDA, Office of Inspector General will continue to dedicate investigative resources, working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners, to protect the integrity of these programs and bring to justice those who commit fraud.”

    The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud count, as well as on each of the mail fraud counts.

    The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Erik Paulsen and Maria Cruz Melendez are in charge of the prosecution.

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    1. This article directly relates to the post by the Mash. When you are so arrogant as to think you can steal for the sake of Torah, alleviating the tuition burden of large families, and not heed the 10 commandments you can make all unilateral decisions in which yeshivas choose “who will live and who will die”, so to speak.

    2. Nebech, another chillul h’shem.

      What is done for money, gazellin fin der medinah, leads to all sorts of chillul h’shem throughout the world. Who will they ask to be m’chaper before the Yom Tovim?.

      • I’m sure that one of the Catholic priests who routinely molest young boys will available during the yomim tovim to listen at their confessionals and be “mechaper” for the two Jews who exaggerated reports to gaina few extra dollars for a school that they personally do not gain any profit from.

        • Whether they gain profit from it or not makes no difference. Stealing is stealing. If I break into your house, steal all of your silver, sell it to a fence and give the money to a yeshiva, without me keeping a penny, will you be OK with that? After all, I didn’t profit. And when you clop Al Chayt on Yom Kippur, is there an exception for the Al Chayt regarding g’naiva if you didn’t profit from it?

      • Does it matter? You think by calling it out you are doing a mitzva or what?
        Because if you’re trying to shame any one side, you are not any better with loshon haras than fraud.
        Do you know the consequences of Lashon Hara or hate?…bad enough we have reporting in the papers.We should sit still and not add to the fire…especially before a trial.
        Its Rosh Chodosh Elul.
        Lets all mind our own aveiros…and if someone did wrong, they will unfortunately have to pay for it…none of us are perfect to call anyone out for anything, not that it is right, but we all have aveiros that need to be corrected.
        Lets begin by ourselves.

    3. If you are a Satmere parent from the Aronim or Zali faction you probably realized the 25-35% increase on your tuition bill. The days of having the Yeshivas ganvening to subsidize your tuition is OVER.
      Maybe we will see some stores selling clothing for 2-5 years old for 250-400 dollars close down. The Raleigh hotel is fully booked every yom tov and shabbos , The steak houses are crowded with chasidim with the Vest and tallis kuten, Miami beach is full in the winter staying in the most expensive hotels, Lizensk ,Keristeer,Lag bomer sees thousands every year all on the expense of the yeshivas. How about all the summer homes for 250,000-400,000 dollars .
      Ball Game is OVER.!!!!!!! if you have the money pay up and if you live in poverty you deserve consideration when you come negotiate your tuition.

        • I am sure you must earn a decent salary and own your own home that you are not in need of Sec.8 subsidize. Unfortunate a very high percentage of the frum communities do not earn enough to pay their monthly rent and that’s why the government created this program. (yes there are a few that abuse the program).
          So before you make such a statement please look around your family,friends,shul ,
          neighbors who are NOT so Fortunate like you and they need the assistance.

      • Agree, but the mindset will be hard to change. This taking from government programs while living large and keeping up with the Cohens in entrenched in some people’s DNA. Small steps need to be taken first…when you make a tanoim do not I repeat do not go down to city hall and get legally married in order to apply for social programs. Instead a conversation about starting off married life with kedusha and yashrus should be had by all. Forget the stupid nareshkeiten when preparing for a wedding build a strong foundation on Torah principals. Good luck!!! Yes I do that with my children and I’m sure many others do that as well but the rotten apples unfortunately stick out.

        • You make a very strong point but Kedusha and Yashrus is part of life and must be thought and practiced by every jew. The point here is that when a couple gets married and they need to start to build a family and if they go the cheap way by finding an apartment in a private home or apartment building the rent starts at $1600-1900 for a one bedroom apt. Then comes utilities, and expenses.
          if the wife has a decent job she can pay the rent till she has a child or some manage to 4-5 kids. The husband gets a job and makes 600-1100 a week after taxes they left with boobkes. So they need the programs just to survive .
          The problem here is the families who DO earn enough and dont need the programs to survive.

          • Everybody is competing with everyone else if someone cannot afford 2 children why have 6 or 7 the point is that dont live beyond your means its a no brainer

            • Where in the Torah does it say be fruitful and multiply ACCORDING TO YOUR INCOME? can you show me.
              Because if that were the case..Am Yisroel would not exist!!!

            • Where does it say you need to have more than one boy and one girl?which is the accepted amount of pru Urvu?
              Where does it say be fruitful and multiply according to YOUR GOVERNMENTS PROGRAMS?

            • Well your irresponsible answer shows that you are not a smart man with all your toireh learning you are still unable to think logically even an animal doesnt have children if it doesnt have a stable source to feed its young ,most hassidim with 6 or more children cannot afford to have that many children they rely on cheating the government and other yiddin to support their high living, they dont pay tuition i know it for a fact not all but many, the goyishe mentality of keeping up with the kohns or levys is whats happening here.

            • The Talmud teaches us Chayev Odom Lolamed es bonaj umnes. A Men must teach his son a profession. Rashi explains if no,t you are teaching your son to rob.

          • I agree we are facing challenges in the realm of supporting our frum lifestyles. However, when you start off using social programs it’s very hard to wean yourself off it and you’re whole life you’re doing things to cover up your true incomes. Remember, if you want to marry off your children young with no realistic financial plan it’s not the US government’s obligation to support you. There’s one thing I know for certain, Hashem doesn’t want us to steal in order to be able to afford our lifestyles. I’m sure there are other solutions. I’ve worked in a certain religious community and was appalled how some young marrieds were talking casually about how they go down to declare themselves homeless (this was 15 years ago), how a certain shul converted their facilities into a homeless shelter so inspectors can come down to verify they are really homeless, how their apartments are in other peoples names, how difficult it is for their husbands to find cash jobs etc I could go on and on. My heart goes out to those truly deserving social programs it must be so difficult and humiliating to apply for social programs.

      • Sounds like you have a gripe with people that are doing well and spend money at Jewish owned businesses. There are rotten apples out there but to attack all successful people is probably just jealousy on your part

        • No he is not…The standard of living has hit the roof. The gashmias is above and beyond…the needs and wants are over the top. Hashem didnt give ashires for all that. He have it so you can take a portion for yourself and help your fellow brothers and sisters with the rest! Hashem made poverty so the rich can do chassudim with their money. Its all on loan. .no kouchi veoitzrim yudi….

    4. Not saying this is right, but these people did it for the “school system” and not to benefit themselves. That is a HUGE difference. Understand, there are very poor people out there, that try everything and can’t just make it. Be it their ability or problems, or bad luck and can’t seem to make a decent living.. As long as they try we have to help them. Most yeshivas have a huge shortfall and take great percentages for free. Ask any administrator
      The rich ones in the hotel and restaurants are paying their way, and you can’t force them for more. But how about the poor?? Can they really start paying full fare? If these guys did it to help them, not have to raise the tuition on the poor, then I do have pity for them. If they saw a father “crying” at the tuition meeting and that drove them to do it, – still not right, but there is a difference.
      The problem is – the Yeshivas should start teaching the kids a trade! but OH NO we can’t do that, Torah & more Torah, then let them wobble through live on their own. From 16 waking hours can’t we spare 2 hours a day on a trade?
      If you want to direct your anger – Direct it at the Rabbonim, R.H. and the system.

    5. I used to work in administration for Satmar (I am not Satmar) The things I saw and was told were shocking. I didn’t last very long, I don’t work illegally or do illegal things. If you decide to scam, even if you’re doing it (in your eyes) L’shem shamayim, you will be caught. It doesn’t matter if you don’t make a cent from it, it’s still illegal and falsifying food records is so stupid. You think the government can’t join the dots? When will you people learn? Try running your network legally for a change.

    6. I’m glad that these indictments and arrests were not broadcast on the various cable tv channels. A few years ago, when many Rabbonim were arrested in NYC and NJ, involving a similar scandal, their arrests were broadcast non-stop, on all the network and cable tv channels. I remember one shiksa on a cable channel who exclaimed “Can you imagine all of those Rabbis being arrested”?


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