New Jersey – NJ Throws Lifeline To Lakewood Benefits Programs Abusers With 3 Month Amnesty Program


    Lakewood, NJ – A newly launched amnesty program would give Lakewood area residents caught up in Medicaid fraud schemes an opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution if they repay any illegally obtained benefits and comply with several other conditions.

    The Asbury Park Press ( reported that New Jersey’s Office of the State Comptroller and Medicaid Fraud Division announced the creation of the Ocean County Recipient Volunteer Disclosure Program on Thursday. The three month long program will kick off on September 12th and is open only to county residents, although it could ultimately be extended elsewhere in the Garden State.

    In addition to repaying any amounts owed to Medicaid, participants would have to withdraw from Medicaid for 12 months and would also incur a financial penalty ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the amount of fraudulently obtained benefits according to (

    As previously reported on VIN News ( over 1,000 members of Lakewood’s Jewish community attended a July event to learn more about tax law and compliance with financial assistance programs in the wake of a series of benefits fraud arrests that rocked the township this past summer.

    A hearing to educate the public about the new program will be held at 6:30 PM on September 12th at the Toms River North High School’s Pine Belt Arena. State Comptroller Phillip James Degnan reported that his office has been contacted by numerous individuals who “wish to come forward but have concern about legal ramifications.”

    Lakewood officials have been similarly deluged with calls for help from hundreds of concerned residents wanting to terminate their benefits because they were concerned about the possibility of being arrested.

    “Residents of Ocean County should consider this program to be their best opportunity to come into compliance without fear of criminal prosecution,” said Degnan.

    While the program will help New Jersey recover lost Medicaid funds and will save the state money by not having to prosecute a potentially large number of individuals, Degnan warned that participants’ applications will be reviewed for other financial irregularities by both the state and Social Security.

    “We can’t guarantee they won’t have trouble with those agencies,” said Degnan.

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    1. Why such a big deal over nothing? These cases involve nothing more than financial fraud, theft from and lying to the government. It’s not as if it involved something mamash fundamental to Torah.

      • It’s not so poshut. The person would be admitting guilt and airing their financial foibles, which would then be reviewed by IRS and state tax department for possible prosecution. Besides having to pay back all money plus penalties. This, in exchange for amnesty on the benefits fraud alone.

    2. I hope the Lakewood investigation also includes all the Latino’s who take cash as construction workers or cleaning lady’s , while collecting government programs for their children and not reporting all the income. I mean this can’t just be a thing against frum jews. After all we are all mad at Arpeio for racial profiling. We would not want it done to our community either.

      • First, I know with certainty a fact that many more than a few of those “…Latino’s who take cash as construction workers or cleaning lady’s (sic)…” are being paid by Yidden…Yidden who’d be the primary targets of such an investigation, not the laborers;

        Second, I think you are fooling yourself if you believe the two situations are even remotely proportionate;

        Third, far from “racial profiling,” the frum community has benefitted from a relative hands off approach by law enforcement. The amnesty program announced this week is in line with that.

        • “Yidden who’d be the primary targets of such an investigation, not the laborers”

          Is that like the gemara that states the mouse is not ganef rather the hole is? Your logic is kind of twisted. Like aren’t the Latino’s the one stealing? Am I the meployer required to research if my employee reports their income for government programs? Even if yes its kind of odd to go after me vs the ganef.

          ” I think you are fooling yourself if you believe the two situations are even remotely proportionate”

          Yes I think they are very proportionate I would venture to say that 99% of the frum cheaters are far from wealthy rather they are earning at most 20/25k over the limit. How much do you think Latino cleaning ladies earn in cash over the year. They make $12 an hour (some $13) and they work form 9 to 5, five some times six days a wee. Now do you need an educated math guy like me or can you do the math?.

          “The frum community has benefitted from a relative hands off approach by law enforcement”
          Oh really and the Latino community when it comes to white collar crimes have not? In fact when was the last time you heard of a major Latino bust because they cheated or committed a white collar crime

        • As I have pointed out many times, there are many on this website that are mad at Trump or Arpaio for racial profiling. They scream about how can you paint everypne with one brush . Or not all muslims are terrorists its only a few extremists….

          Yet when it comes to our community all jews are stealers and its the whole community thats rotten.

          How hypocritical. SO very sad

    3. This is what the Torah means when it says “teach your son a trade or he will becoma a goniff.” . I don’t blame the people – they have to live and are caught between a rock and a hard place. Lay the blame on the yeshivas, as that are screaming Teyrah!! Teyrah!! and unfortunately forgot (or deliberately skipped) this chazal.
      Yeshivas have to start having programs to teach the boys a trade, but like everything else in our community, the the leaders stick their heads in the ground and we follow like fools.

      • I learned a trade and have a decent job yet I still can’t pay my bills. Rabbeim earn more than me on a net income basis after govt assistance which I can’t get. I am not convinced that people going thru my middle income as a frum jews struggles won’t need to resort to shtick as well. You solution of learning a trade may not help.

        • Learning a trade is not enough; it’s not supposed to be a guarantee of sufficient parnassah. We have to manage our expenses including choice of where we live to fit our ability to earn. There are out of town communities that are much less expensive to live in than NYC and Lakewood. And there is no guarantee that wages in any field will keep up with cost of living. Best chance of maximizing parnassah for most people is post-secondary secular education in high demand areas like STEM, law, finance, and accounting. Thatvthat takes a at time from Torah. There is no free cholent; everything has a price.

    4. Elul is the opportunity for tshevah – and the government is giving the opportunity to those in need of this in New Jersey. Isn’t this a wonderful simen of what to do? What can be better?

    5. This is not so simple. Let’s say you innocently forgot to include $500 in income (and that happens all the time) and the IRS catches it, you pay this amount plus some interest and a penalty.

      If, however, that $500 makes a difference whether not you qualify for Medicaid and you have a large family whose medical expenses Medicaid paid, that innocent mistake means that Medicaid paid perhaps tens of thousands in benefits for you that year taht you were not entitled to just because of that $500 error.

      A better solution would be that Medicaid should not be a “yes” or “no”. It should be on a sliding scale depending on your income. That way, a $500 error might mean a much, much smaller difference in reimbursement and easily rectified when the mistake is discovered.

      • I really do not know how they react if someone had medicaid based on false statements.
        They might consider an average cost or they might go into detailed analysis of costs paid. In that case they would also have to apologize to anybody paintes as a crook that had maedicaid and made little or no use.
        If they really go after someone that had major expenses they will probably caus ethe person to be medicaid eligible when they finish!
        I work simply to keep my insurance and I, in no way condone using benefits that someone is not entitled to.

    6. Instead of having these lavish dinners and fundraisers (that only a select few are invited to but yet are the talk of the town), these so called Askonim in Lakewood should provide training programs on topics such as ethics and Medicaid and Medicare fraud.

      If the yeshivas won’t teach this then its the least the Askonim should do. This would benefit many and keep us from making a Chillul Hashem & out of the news

    7. Not So pashut. If the offer was to merely cancel the programs going forward, I am sure that many many people would sign up to do so. However, this requires reimbursement of all medical benefits used for an extended period of time. If anyone had any procedures performed, even something as simple as arthroscopic surgery etc. this could run into tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursement.

    8. When a goy takes money from the government and is caught it is a crime; when a frum yid does it, not only is it a crime, but a chillul haShem.

      FYI, a chillul haShem is a major sin since it turns people away from haShem, since they say, “if this is how believers behave, I want none of it”. See the Rambam….

    9. How about another solution… stop scamming.

      We couldn’t make it on 2 decent salaries, we were $100,000+ in debt and were about to lose our home. By liquidating pension plans etc and negotiating repayments we got out of debt in a couple of years. We don’t have pensions or savings any more, we downsized on selling our house and the tiny profit went on debt reduction but we don’t have any debt today and we married off our children in a balabatishe way by being very careful and we never used any Gemachim. We never defrauded the government or took handouts.

      I have no idea how we did it but we did. We’ll never be even comfortable, we don’t have anything put by and we live hand to mouth. we don’t own our house either, it’s rented. But if we don’t sleep at night it’s not because we owe money or are being sued, it’s because the aches and pains of age and stress have taken their toll.

      • “We don’t have pensions or savings any more”

        That’s called smart financial planning? What if an emergency arises and you have no savings? What will you do at retirement with no 401k?

        Not owning a home and paying rent that you get no assets out of is smart planning? All your rent money has a zero return . A mortgage is yours after 30 years. That does not mean to overdo it and it may be wise to purchase a home that also has a rentable income. But if you do it wise, you can own your home for the same or almost the same monthly price as rent and then its yours after 30 years. I just don’t see the wisdom in renting vs owning.

        Of course your situation may have been unique and you may have to do what you had to do. But generally a small but managable kind of debt like a mortgage
        that will pay off in the long term especially for youngish couples is the smart thing to do.

    10. Tehillim helps just as much! Just say tehillim and all will be well. There is a HKB”H who runs the world, not the IRS or Medicaid. Start a Tehillim group and sleep well at night.


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