TRENTON, NJ—A rabbi of Deal Synagogue in Deal, N.J., pleaded guilty today to operating an illegal money remitting business, admitting that he illegally accepted and issued checks in connection with charities he or another co-conspiring rabbi controlled, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Edmond Nahum, 58, of Deal, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano to an Information charging him with operating the illegal business in conjunction with the bank accounts of Deal Kupot and Ahavat Haim Vachesed—charitable organizations in Monmouth County, N.J. that he controlled—as well as with Saul Kassin, 89, the chief rabbi of Congregation Sharee Zion in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Magen Israel Society charitable organization located in Brooklyn that Kassin controlled.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made during Nahum’s guilty plea proceeding in Trenton federal court:
Nahum admitted that from June 2007 through December 2008, he transferred thousands of dollars in checks to Solomon Dwek, an individual he later learned was a cooperating witness with the United States. Nahum referred Dwek to Kassin and informed Dwek that Kassin would be able to move large amounts of money. Initially, Nahum accepted checks from Dwek made payable to Magen Israel Society, which Nahum passed on to Kassin. Kassin would then issue checks from Magen Israel Society, minus commission, which Nahum would provide to Dwek.
Nahum also accepted bank checks made payable to Deal Kupot and Ahavat Haim Vachesed and issued checks to another organization in New Jersey. Nahum accepted between approximately $120,000 and $200,000 in bank checks.
Nahum admitted that he knew that the checks he and Kassin issued for Dwek would not be used for charitable purposes.
Kassin pleaded guilty for his role in the unlicensed money remitting scheme and was sentenced on June 1, 2011, to two years of probation.
The charge to which Nahum pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Nahum agreed to forfeit $175,381.33 in funds seized from the bank account of Deal Kupot by the FBI on July 23, 2009. Sentencing for Nahum is scheduled for September 22, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; and IRS—Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian R. Howe, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Justin P. Walder Esq., Roseland, N.J.; Alan Silber Esq., Roseland, N.J.