Rabbi mugshot

Rabbi and his wife among many charged for defrauding Medicaid of more than $1 million

Eight people in New Jersey, including a rabbi and his wife, were charged after authorities discovered a conspiracy to defraud Medicaid and other public assistance programs of more than $1 million, reports CBS News.

Authorities say that Rabbi Zalmen Sorotzkin of Congregation Lutzk in Lakewood and his wife, Tzipporah, along with several other couples were arrested after police raided four homes.

According to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, more arrests are expected to be made.

The rabbi and his wife were charged with collecting $338,000 in benefits that they were not entitled to. Prosecutors said Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin collected more than $585,000 in benefits and were also charged.

The rabbi’s brother, Mordechai Sorotzkin, and his wife, Rachel Sorotzkin, along with another couple, were charged with conspiring to fraudulently obtain Medicaid benefits, Section 8 housing benefits and food assistance benefits.

In 2012 and 2013, the couple allegedly made over $1 million, but they still used about $22,000 from Medicaid to pay for medical expenses when their sixth child was born in the late months of 2013.

Coronato said that the couples should have been very aware of the illegality of their actions.

“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.”

Yocheved and Shimon Nussbaum made approximately $265,000 in 2011. This is more than double the maximum amount that qualifies someone to receive Medicaid benefits, and more than triple the maximum for Section 8 benefits.

The FBI and the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller began the investigation, but it eventually spread out and included the U.S. Social Security Administration, the state Department of the Treasury and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

[Feature Photo: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office]