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VA Church Volunteer Stole Money From Sunday Offerings: Police


Sandra I. Cortes                                                                                                                                                                       Fairfax County Police Department


A 53-year-old woman accused of stealing several thousand dollars from a Virginia church faces multiple charges of grand larceny.


After an office employee at Queen of Apostles Parish in Alexandria reported suspicions of a volunteer stealing money from church offerings, Fairfax County Police detectives from the Mason District Station set up a surveillance operation.


Sunday, suspect Sandra Irene Cortes was found taking money from the weekly collection during her volunteer duties, police said. Detectives arrested Cortes and took her to an adult detention center where she was charged with three counts of grand larceny.


statement from the Queen of Apostles Parish stated the severity of the issue and ensured "the funds provided for use in parish operations and charitable ministries are protected."


Anyone with information or questions regarding Cortes is asked to call 703-256-8035 or 703-691-2131. Anonymous tips can be submitted electronically by visiting www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or by texting “TIP187.” Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100-$1000.



Published at 4:41 PM EDT on Sep 19, 2017






Another 12 People Charged in Massive New Jersey Welfare Fraud Crackdown

Some 13 couples now face charges they defrauded welfare agencies of more than $2.4 million

Another six Lakewood, New Jersey couples were charged Wednesday with welfare fraud, bringing to 26 the number of people implicated since last week in the multimillion-dollar scandal. 


At the heart of the charges is the allegation that they all, in one way or another, failed to report or otherwise concealed significant income that would have made them ineligible for the assistance programs in which they enrolled. In total, state and federal prosecutors have said the families collected more than $2.4 million in benefits. 


The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office identified those charged Wednesday as Eliezer, 33, and Elkie, 31, Sorotzkin; Samuel, 45, and Esther, 44, Serhofer; Yisroel, 37, and Rachel, 34, Merkin; Jerome Menchel, 33, and Mottel Friedman, 30; Tzvi, 35, and Estee, 34, Braun; and Moshe, 30, and Nechama, 27, Hirschmann.


They allegedly obtained nearly $400,000 in Medicaid, food and heating benefits fraudulently. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys to comment on their behalf. 


The charges have shaken Lakewood, whose population tripled since 1980 as the Orthodox Jewish population there surged. The town is now one of New Jersey's largest as a result.


RABBI AND TEACHER ARRESTED


Among those arrested since the crackdown began are a rabbi and the former director of a religious special-needs school. 


Yitzchock and Sora Kanarek, Chaim and Liatt Ehrman, and William and Faigy Friedman were arrested late June 27.


Prosecutors say the three couples misrepresented their income and then collected more than $674,000 in benefits. Yitzchock Kanarek formerly ran Yeshiva Oros Yisroel, which catered to kids with special needs who could not be accommodated at other religious schools.


Four other couples were arrested June 26 for allegedly defrauding public assistance programs of more than $1.3 million in benefits.


Rachel and Mordechai Sorotzkin face federal charges, as do Yocheved and Shimon Nussbaum. The Sorotzkins allegedly obtained state Medicaid benefits that they did not qualify for, while the Nussbaums allegedly did the same with Medicaid, housing and food assistance benefits.


Seperately, Ocean County prosecutors filed state charges against Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin and Zalmen and Tzipporah Sorotzkin. Both couples allegedly underreported income to collect Medicaid, food, housing and Social Security benefits.


Zalmen Sorotzkin is the Rabbi of Congregation Lutzk in Lakewood.


Last weekend, vandals posted a banner containing an anti-Jewish slur on a Holocaust memorial in front of a Lakewood synagogue. A message on the covering included an ethnic slur for Jewish people and stated they "will not divide us," along with the name of a group supposedly responsible for the covering.


The action is believed to be tied to the recent arrests.


'PUNITIVE PRICE'

Prosecutors said Thursday that their investigation is ongoing and more charges may be filed. 


The specter of more charges has shaken Lakewood. Hundreds of residents have contacted authorities seeking amnesty or help avoiding arrest, the Asbury Park Press reported on June 29.


In addition to the hundreds seeking amnesty, dozens more people have contacted social service agencies to cancel their benefits or declare income, the paper reported, citing a law enforcement source who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.


"Financial assistance programs are designed to alleviate family hardships for those truly in need. My office gave clear guidance and notice to the Lakewood community in 2015 of what is considered financial abuse of these programs. Those who choose to ignore those warnings by seeking to illegally profit on the backs of taxpayers will pay the punitive price of their actions," Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said in a June 26 statement.


Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg released a statement last Wednesday evening on behalf of The Lakewood Vaad (a council of local elders and businessmen), saying the group was "saddened beyond words by the arrests of seven couples in our town.


"There is no such a thing as 'justified' theft," Weisberg said in the statement. "To deliberately bend a safety-net eligibility rule is stealing, no different than stealing from your friend or neighbor."


Weisberg said the council would launch a set of intensive educational programs in the days ahead, and that the public will be invited to participate in the programs.


Published at 11:36 AM EDT on Jul 6, 2017






收入100多萬 詐福利被逮

沈珠妮 2017年07月07日 

被控詐領福利的被告(中),日前走出新州翠登市聯邦法庭。(美聯社)  被控詐領福利的被告(中),日前走出新州翠登市聯邦法庭。(美聯社)

1、這是美國人的詐欺?

在新州Lakewood市,極端正統猶太人(ultra-Orthodox Jewish)群居的社區,七對夫婦被控隱藏收入,詐領超過200萬美元的聯邦福利。

2、這是聯邦打擊冒領福利的新趨勢?

可能。因為這是一個新州著名的傳統猶太教徒的社區,他們很多以宗教理由不願送小孩到外地去上大學(以免被其他文化「腐化」),因此他們之中很多屬低收入,很多家庭領取政府福利。這次被捕的七對詐領福利夫婦來自這個社區,而且其中一人是猶太社區德高望重的教長「拉比(rabbi)」,顯示政府不再讓宗教為理由而豁免他們的社會義務,因此格外引起注意。

3、他們隱藏了多少收入?

一對夫婦在2013年收入180萬美元,另一對夫婦2012及2013年收入,超過100萬多美元。

4、他們詐欺的福利項目?

那對收入超過100萬的夫婦,被控詐領超過9萬6000美元的醫療補助,其中一筆是他們在2013年他們第六個孩子出生的2萬2000多美元的醫療補助(medicaid,白卡)。那對兩年收入180萬美元的夫婦,被逮到在2014年領了醫療補助、糧食券、社會福利金(social security)及租金補助。

5、社區的反應?

憤怒。這個小城在2010年的人口是9萬3000人,比十年前已經躍增3萬2000多人,現在估計人口至少12萬人。這是新州最迅速成長的小城,造成這個小城有100多家私立教會學校。由於正統猶太教徒已經在小城成為多數,他們贏得多數的學區委員席位,對當地教育經費的支用,產生巨大的影響。美聯社報導,當地的老居民希望查明他們的房產稅是如何用來支付新來居民的福利的,老居民並抱怨房產經紀人找房子安置這些新遷入的居民,態度過於兇悍,讓當地老居民感到不安。




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