The warehouse of Deco-Tile was where the agents were entering and exiting, later some were seen bringing out boxes of medical supplies. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. – Kevin James Forestier, Jr., 26, of Scott, Louisiana, was sentenced today for possession of child…, RICHMOND, Va. – A previously convicted felon was sentenced today to 100 months in prison for…, DENVER. Authorities allege the couples received Medicaid, SNAP food assistance, housing assistance and Social Security benefits by lying about the amount of their income. President Donald J. Trump is once again being censored by the left after he made a…, NORFOLK, Va. – A North Carolina man was sentenced today to two years in prison for…, LAFAYETTE, La. His sentencing was scheduled for June 1 but has been pushed back to October. Once a stomping ground for the rich and famous, Lakewood is now in the news for the tensions growing around its burgeoning ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Agents showed up at a warehouse at approximately 4:30 pm located at 1980 Swarthmore Avenue. Federal and state authorities this week, in two separate raids, arrested seven Lakewood couples and accused them of defrauding government assistance programs out of more than $2 million over five years by collecting benefits to which they were not entitled. In February, Malamud pleaded guilty in federal court to running an unlicensed money transmitting business through his store. He laid down strict rules about how the town should operate. All rights reserved (About Us). I vividly remember my first impression of Lakewood almost 30 years ago, when I visited family members living in the small kolel town in New Jersey. That's led some residents to complain that the town is not getting enough in taxes to cover the cost of essential services and infrastructure. What happened to the vision? FBI agents were once again spotted in Lakewood, this time at a residential home in the vicinity of New Hampshire Avenue and Oak Street to investigate a report of a residential homeowner with a large supply of medical equipment and masks in a garage. No sit down restaurants, for example. Neither the Lakewood Police, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, New Jersey Attorney General, or the FBI have publicly commented on the events transpiring in the township as of yet. Build your mansions and open designer stores and Cordon Bleu restaurants in the appropriate areas. The owner was cited for illegal change of use for converting a single family home into a dormitory. That is the circle of life. This is absurd. With so much development within Lakewood's borders, residents have complained building and planning codes are not being enforced, leading to overcrowding. It is working out wonderfully. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. The monitor is still in place. This kolel town was created by Rabbi Aaron Kotler zt”l who had a vision of a Torah community away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Those who chose this lifestyle wanted to adhere to the rules. There are the wealthy and the modest. couples, including a rabbi and his wife, were arrested this week, Lakewood rabbi, multiple couples arrested in FBI raids over alleged welfare fraud, Lakewood rabbi, others released from jail after massive fraud bust, 3 more Lakewood houses raided in multi-million dollar welfare fraud investigation, Feds says these 4 Lakewood millionaires defrauded welfare programs -- here's how. A place where the community could live without outside influences and materialistic values. Now the town is in the headlines again as seven couples, including a rabbi and his wife, were arrested this week and charged with stealing more than $2 million in federal and state aid by hiding their actual financial assets. In March 2016, the issue came to light when an illegal dormitory for a yeshiva was destroyed by fire. Find NJ.com on Facebook. The town, which has the second largest (behind Brooklyn) Orthodox Jewish community on the East Coast, grew from a total population of 45,000 in 1990 to more than 100,000 in 2016. 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They are those of the authors and are not under endorsement of The Thinking Yid. FBI press spokesperson Patty Hartman, of the Newark field office, declined to offer details of the investigation. However, I truly believe that if you have respect for Torah and those who have made it their life’s goal to be immersed in Torah learning, even if you don’t believe in this lifestyle, don’t bulldoze a town that was built on the premise of modesty and simple living. At Governor Murphy’s daily COVID-19 press conference, Governor Phil Murphy acknowledged the FBI investigation in Lakewood. Lakewood Township is the most populous township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. Lakewood has unfortunately become a place where many youngsters are leaving the fold. This was a Torah community and everyone belonged to this warm happy bunch. Our religion does not adhere to the Communistic ideals that everyone should be equal. Lakewood has two long-time, quality soccer programs in the Lakewood Soccer Association (LSA) and the Lakewood United Football Club (LUFC). its burgeoning ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. This was the life they had chosen, they had menuchas hanefesh and thrived in this environment. Building boom. A federal investigation into the owner of an electronics business in Lakewood helped lead authorities to the welfare fraud case, a law enforcement source has told The Star-Ledger. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. To date, no local law enforcement agency has divulged any information about the three day long investigation that went as quickly as it came. We’ve reached out to FBI field offices to get an update. Two of the couples allegedly hid $1.5 million each while collecting tens of thousands in welfare benefits. Parents building and purchasing homes to be near their children. Retirement villages are all de rigueur. Neighbors and friends quickly rallied round to put together kiddushim, meals for a new mothers, etc. Today is it home to more than 100,000 people, including Orthodox Jews, Hispanics and African-Americans. No visible arrests were made. Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, said this was among a series of arrests made in 2015 that stimulated Prosecutor Joseph Coronato to make a presentation to Lakewood's Orthodox Jewish community about welfare fraud. If it was nothing, then we feel the people who were target of the now very public investigation should be exonerated because their business names were plastered worldwide. ( Log Out /  That's when 710 permits were issued -- 560 for one- and two- family homes and another 150 for multi-family homes. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Governor Phil Murphy acknowledged the ongoing investigation, prompting Murphy say of people who hoard medical supplies, “There’s a special place in hell for those people.”. While it's not considered a full takeover, the state in 2014 appointed a monitor and a team of others to oversee the district and its finances. Lakewood public schools have 6,000 students but the town also has another 30,000 students who go to private yeshivas. Lakewood's population has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past several decades and Orthodox Jews make up 60 percent of the residents. The FBI’s official stance is that they do not confirm nor deny ongoing investigations, but when dozens of agents wearing FBI field jackets show up in your town, it’s kind of difficult for the agency to deny anything at all happened. Follow her on Twitter @MaryAnnSpoto. As of the 2019, Population Estimates Program, the United States Census Bureau estimated that the municipality had a population of approximately 106,300 residents. MaryAnn Spoto may be reached at mspoto@njadvancemedia.com. We have lost our way, and none of the powers that be seem to have any influence on those who have taken over the reins. Faced with a nearly $15 million budget shortfall, Lakewood's board of education the end of this school year fired nearly 150 teachers and staff and eliminated all sports programs. Especially for the nouveau riche and their imitators. Because they're considered religious, they're exempt from paying property taxes. It is totally unrecognizable to the Lakewood of yesteryear. That transportation costs the school district $24.5 million. CO  – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn today announced that Logan Scott Debyle of…, © All rights reserved. We contact the FBI Newark office who declined to comment about the case. (Peter Ackerman/The Asbury Park Press via AP). When I moved to Lakewood about 10 years ago. Each organization fills a role for soccer development in an adolescent's life. ( Log Out /  The statements, views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Thinking Yid. ( Log Out /  The state kicked in $8.5 million, helping to get the budget approved this week by the state monitor. Something is wrong. By MaryAnn Spoto | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. ( Log Out /  We know that Hashem bestows abundant worldly goods on some and for others every day is a struggle for bread. One may argue. To accommodate the rapid influx of residents, the town has undergone a building … Change ), Thinking Yid and Thinking Yid Logo TM and Copyright  2016-2021. Epstein, who specialized in religious divorces, was convicted in federal court of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. The Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood suffered an embarrassment in 2015 when a prominent rabbi, Mendel Epstein, was convicted along with two others of conspiracy in a scheme to torture husbands until they granted their wives divorces. More arrests are expected. When asked to confirm an earlier report on the Lakewood Scoop to see if the investigation was a case of mistaken identity, the agency seemed surprised by the question but refused to answer, suggesting it was not. Covering 25 square miles, Lakewood has more than 80 synagogues. It was at this operation that it was learned that the FBI was looking into large quantities of protective medical masks. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township had a total population of 92,843, representing an increase of 32,491 (+53.8%) from the 60,352 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 15,304 (+34.0%) from the 45,048 counted in the 1990 Cens… Some original homes still on these blocks look like the size of a pool house cabana or a garage to hold the fleet of cars of some palatial home. Darling little children are beautiful and innocent and do not need expensive accouterments to fit in. Agents loaded at least four box trucks full of medical masks. The state Department of Education stepped in when Lakewood's board of education failed to close annual budget deficits. New construction is springing up everywhere. Samantha A. Massimino, 33, of Toms River, is facing aggravated manslaughter and weapons charges in the early Saturday stabbing of Reinaldo Feliciano Jr., 35, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20).