All the suspects in both investigations were brought down by the same shady developer, who wore a wire for three years while he bought off politicians, passed supposedly dirty money for laundering and even arranged for a $160,000 kidney sale. * * * At the center of the stings by the FBI and the IRS was Solomon Dwek -- a real-estate developer busted in May 2006 for trying to rip off $50 million from PNC Bank through a check-kiting scheme. * * * Once flipped by the feds, the 36-year-old posed as a crooked businessman looking to launder proceeds from fraudulent bank loans or sales of fake designer handbags to accomplices who would launder the money through charities in the United States and Israel. They moved "at least tens of millions of dollars through charitable, nonprofit entities controlled by rabbis in New York and New Jersey," [acting US Attorney Ralph] Marra said.* * * Dwek, who ran a Deal, NJ, yeshiva that catered to Sephardic Jews, also offered to bribe officials to smooth the way for his real-estate projects. That phase of the ruse ensnared the politicians. * * * The investigation was described by the feds as "dual track," because the political corruption and laundering probes were separate.
Pursuant to a major corruption probe allegedly involving money laundering and bid rigging, FBI agents have swept through northern New Jersey and Brooklyn, NY this morning and arrested more than 30 high profile public individuals, including several city mayors and rabbis, as reported by Joe Ryan for The Star-Ledger:
The suspects are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Newark later today. Those arrested include Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean), Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, and Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega.
In a subsequent article Joe Ryan writes for The Star-Ledger that the suspects were arrested following "a two year probe that began with an investigation of money transfers by members of the Syrian enclaves in Deal and Brooklyn," and "those arrested this morning include key religious leaders in the tight-night, wealthy communities." The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark, NJ will be holding a noon-time press conference to disclose the details.