Welfare fraud charges have been levied against 26 residents of an Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey, but unlike most Americans who face this crime, this group was offered an amnesty program.
By Dave Gahary
LAKEWOOD, N.J.—Preferential treatment doled out to welfare cheats in this south Jersey town has the residents here—used to the white-glove treatment the Orthodox Jewish community here receives—up in arms. Not only did the Orthodox steal millions from New Jersey and U.S. taxpayers after they had been warned not to do so several years earlier, but after they were arrested, processed, and released, they were offered a never-before-seen amnesty pilot program that leaders of the accuseds’ community helped draft.
Under the amnesty program, individuals would have to repay benefits they received while ineligible, plus a civil penalty. They would also have to agree not to accept Medicaid for one year. If they meet all the program requirements, local officials will not prosecute them, and the Ocean County prosecutor’s office said it will not pursue charges.
As this reporter wrote about in a June 2014 AFP article entitled “An Orthodox Final Solution,” Lakewood is unique in the annals of American community history.
As reported in the 2014 article: Founded by hard-working Americans in the late 1880s, a blast-iron furnace business kick-started the town’s good fortune. Several magnificent estates sprouted around town, helping Lakewood to become a favorite winter retreat for the Eastern elite, including the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Goulds, Astors, and others. President Grover Cleveland would spend his dying days in the town.
This past July, writer John Friend reported that “a total of 26 individuals—all of whom are members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood—have been either arrested or have had charges brought against them for crimes relating to illegally obtaining state and federal government benefits in a fraudulent manner . . . including Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and housing assistance, among other programs.”
“Incredibly,” he reported, some of those arrested “had earned over a million dollars in annual income, yet were still collecting government benefits illegally.”
In September it was uncovered that New Jersey’s state comptroller—who is overseeing the amnesty program—gave Orthodox leaders “exclusive access to state officials” for the creation of the controversial amnesty program. Black and Latino groups told a local newspaper that their views were excluded.
Making matters worse for the stretched taxpayers in Lakewood and the county, the comptroller, Philip Degnan, rented a 3,200-seat arena “to hold an amnesty ‘informational’ ” meeting, but just three dozen were present for the session. Taxpayers paid $1,200 for the arena and $640 for a police detail.
Degnan confirmed this pilot program was designed with the Orthodox in mind: “We have not seen it in any other state. As far as we know, it’s a fairly unique program.”
AFP interviewed Carolyn Yeager, who has covered this topic on her personal website. She summarized why this issue is destined to only get worse.
“The typical Orthodox Jewish family consists of a mother, father, and seven children,” Ms. Yeager told AFP, “and 70% receive some form of government assistance, with many of them on multiple forms of government assistance.”
Compounding the large families of the Orthodox is the fact that this community is made up of Ashkenazi Jews, who share a group of rare genetic diseases and disorders due to something called the “founder effect,” which is a nice way of saying inbreeding, or incest. Although most of the diseases associated with Jewish incest “are severe and can cause early death, some can be treated to reduce symptoms and prolong life,” which only further strains the taxpayer base.
Additionally, most of the male members of the Orthodox community attend their peculiar form of schools, for life.
“These men don’t work,” explained Ms. Yeager. “They go to school forever and have access to education grants.”
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming full-length feature film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See erasingtheliberty.com for more information and to get the new book on which the movie will be based, Erasing the Liberty.