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Solomon Dwek Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison for Bank Fraud and Money Laundering

Dwek cooperated with law enforcement investigations

Solomon Dwek, a Monmouth County-based real estate developer and the owner of properties in Monmouth and Ocean counties who pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering in 2009 was sentenced today to six years in prison.

Judge Jose Linares handed down the sentence in Newark after hearing final arguments from the prosecutors and defense attorney in Dwek's trial.

Dwek was facing nine to 11 years under his plea deal for his crimes, but his cooperation with federal investigators over the last few years helped him receive a reduced sentence.

Dwek's time as an informant led to the arrest of 46 people including local government officials and rabbis, including

Dwek and Kohen schemed to defraud PNC Bank of more than $50 million nd to launder approximately $22.8 million of the proceeds through other banks, which included paying off an overdue and fraudulently obtained $20 million line of credit at HSBC Bank USA, N.A. (HSBC).

According to a release from the Department of U.S. Attorney's Office:

Dwek and Kohen schemed to defraud PNC Bank by presenting, on April 24, 2006, a $25,212,076 check drawn on a Dwek-controlled account in the name of Corbett Holdings at a PNC Bank branch in Eatontown. Dwek wanted the check deposited into another PNC account that he controlled in the name of SEM Realty Associates LLC. After a PNC Bank official advised him that the Corbett Holdings account was closed with a zero balance, Dwek falsely represented that “corporate” was reopening the account and that a wire transfer of funds into the Corbett Holdings account would be forthcoming, which did not occur. Dwek’s check was honored and deposited.

The next day, Dwek phoned in four wire transfers out of the SEM Realty account to various other banks, including $20 million and $2.2 million wire transfers to HSBC, according to Dwek. The $20 million wire transfer to HSBC was for the purpose of paying off an overdue and fraudulently obtained $20 million line of credit that he received from HSBC, which he had fully drawn down. As a result, the SEM Realty account was overdrawn by $22.8 million.

On April 25, 2006, Dwek presented another bogus $25 million check to be drawn on the same Corbett Holdings account for deposit into the same SEM Realty account at a PNC Bank branch in Asbury Park. This check was not honored or deposited by the bank. Dwek made a number of false statements and representations to cover up this scheme, including falsely advising a PNC bank official that he was expecting a wire transfer from an attorney that would cover the $25,212,076 check drawn on the Corbett account. Dwek later called back the PNC official and had Kohen pose as the attorney and falsely tell the bank official that he would make a wire transfer to cover the $25 million check. The wire transfers of these fraudulently obtained proceeds to HSBC, as well as two other wire transfers of $580,000 and $10,000 to other banks, was money laundering.

Kohen pleaded guilty to bank fraud on March 21, 2007. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison by Judge Linares. Dwek was charged with bank fraud on May 11, 2006, in a criminal complaint.

He cooperated with law enforcement in an investigation of pre-existing money laundering networks that operated internationally among New York, New Jersey, Israel and other locations and laundered millions of dollars through charitable, non-profit entities. This cooperation led to the conviction of, among others, five rabbis, on money laundering and unlicensed money remitting charges. Among those convicted were Rabbi Ben Haim, the former chief rabbi of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal, N.J., and Rabbi Mordchai Fish, the former chief rabbi of Congregation Sheves Achim in Brooklyn.

District Judge Joel A. Pisano sentenced Ben Haim to 60 months in prison in January, 2012 and sentenced Rabbi Mordchai Fish to 46 months in prison on July 3, 2012.

Dwek’s cooperation also led to the first-ever conviction for organ trafficking under the National Organs Transplant Act of 1984. Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn pleaded guilty to three counts of organs trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit organ trafficking and was sentenced to 30 months in prison on July 11, 2012, by U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton.

Law enforcement officials also used Dwek to investigate public corruption in New Jersey. Those investigations led to convictions against numerous individuals for public corruption, including Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, who was sentenced to 24 months in prison on Aug. 5, 2010; Secacus Mayor Dennis Elwell, who received a term of 30 months in prison on April 12, 2012; Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega Jr., who received a sentence of 30 months in prison on April 11, 2011; and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, who received a prison term of 36 months on June 14, 2010. All four defendants were sentenced by Judge Linares.

In addition, Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt of Ocean County was convicted at trial before Judge Pisano and sentenced to 41 months imprisonment on Nov. 22, 2010.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Dwek to five years of supervised released and ordered restitution of $22.8 million.

Dwek also is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Freehold, at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow for sentencing on state charges.

Peter Koenig October 18, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Oops. Mr. Dwek was sentenced in federal court; the case was handled by the US Attorney's Office. The illustration shows the seal of the State AG.
Alison Bowie October 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Well finally some justice has been served ...it's about time! I hope that the general prison population takes care of him.
Berkeley Lifer October 18, 2012 at 10:28 PM
After snitching on so many others he will most likely be placed in a Protective custody housing unit,and be locked down 23 hours a day.
Irina October 19, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Geeze only 6 years...Consider time already served and then good behavior. I'll bet he's out in less then 2 years. Heck with working, I'm gonna become a criminal. The pay is better.
who knows October 19, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Guess who - generally speaking those federally sentenced usually serve up to 80% of the time sentenced
Mr. ? October 19, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Put him with Ritacco and they can make land deals. They can call George when he visits...and don't forget Vanpelt and Santoro. Kosher bread and water in prison?
Opinionated October 19, 2012 at 02:26 AM
He is by no means a good person. He does not deserve any of our respect. He only became an informant to save his own neck instead of noble reasons. But one has to admit he exposed many corrupt people for what they are and they are no longer in any position to continue their thieving ways (for now anyway). I guess a bad person can do good things and still is no good himself.
Jocole October 19, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Yawn
Caroline October 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Yawn? I guess dishing about local politics is so much more interesting or who won the debate - anyway I am glad one of the guys who scammed is going to jail.. Too many scammers reap the benefits and have no penalties at all
Mark Rios October 19, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I think that Solomon Dwek deserves more time..I dont care that he helped Federal Officials with getting the others involved in his schemes. He actually initiated most fo that mess he created..he should have gone to jail for at least 11 years. He claimed he has a disability but it didnt stop him from committing all those crimes by trying to defraud the banks and government of all that money. Who writes checks for $24million dollars for deposit if you dont have that kind of money..he knew what he was doing..he got over on the government and when he gets out he will do it again. No matter where he is
Peter Koenig October 19, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Now you have the right logo.
anonymous October 19, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Red Bank's own State Senator Jennifer Beck received campaign contributions from this slime ball. When the facts were revealed, she "hurriedly" donated the funds. Only problem: the senator who demands transparency and accountability from other government agencies REFUSED to show proof of such donation when requested by a constituent. I guess rules of transparency are for everyone else but our Senator Jenny Beck. How does one spell hypocrite? http://www.northjersey.com/news/politics/Key_witness_made_nearly_200000_in_campaign_contributions.html
Kathy English October 19, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I think he and his friends should also do community service to fix up the Historcial schools they owned and now are sitting in disrepaire. It's a shame to see 2 of these old schools that are over 100yrs old boarded up!
Nj Ghost October 19, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Obviously an excellent candidate for a chief finance officer in charge of housing, development and land managment in the obama administration....
Debbie October 19, 2012 at 02:38 PM
His crime calls for a longer sentence. Sounds like someone got paid off!!!
mattkemp October 19, 2012 at 03:41 PM
The judge required Dwek to make restitution of $22,000,000 at the rate of $300 per month after he's released from prison. Dwek will be paying until he's age 6056.
Sozzie October 19, 2012 at 04:04 PM
How did he only get 6 years? He was so far worse then Michael Ritacco. Michael Ritacco was at least still doing good things while taking bribes. This Dwek just stole millions and millions from people. If I was Ritacco I would try to appeal my sentence or something. Dwek tried the mentally ill route. At least Ritacco admitted he was wrong.
IGOR EVANOVITCH October 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
WHERE IS MY POSTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
IGOR EVANOVITCH October 19, 2012 at 08:34 PM
THAT BAS_ _ _ D DWEK I KNOW HIM HE SHOULD FRY..HE TURNED HIS OWN FATHER AND FRIENDS OVER TO THE FEDS. I HOPE THEY GET HIM GOOD IN PRISON
Bowie Thelonius October 19, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Maybe because the money Ritacco stole was mostly taxpayer's money? I don't know, seems like a light sentence for Dwek though.
ray October 20, 2012 at 06:58 AM
Igor all the people he ratted on were criminals not saying he's a good guy but they were criminals
Bryan October 20, 2012 at 01:45 PM
OOPs is right, You know what they say in prison..You steal you SQUEEL!! ouch.. have fun buster
Bryan October 20, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Who cares who he turned in.. They were all ckooks and I am glad they are all caught... If the crimminals fear their own friends and family will ultimately snitch then maybe just maybe they will consider other options, although I highly doubt it.. I also am insensed that he had the audacity toplead mental incompetance.. Sympathy for his family yes, for him never
Bryan October 20, 2012 at 01:51 PM
IN 'AMERICA" This is the price you pay... unlike some other places in the world we do NOT Encourage nor excuse this type of behavior... We do NOT get angry because he snitched... that is so USSR....

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