Saturday, July 25, 2009

Solomon Dwek: From bogus mogul to FBI's busiest rat

From the Daily News by Samuel Goldsmith:
For Solomon Dwek, being an FBI informant was a full-time job.

His life as a high rolling real estate king crashed in 2006 when he bounced a $25 million check.

From that day forward, he was the FBI’s newest stoolie.

Telling them he could infiltrate a ring of prominent rabbis laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, he worked overtime becoming their friends and partner in crime.

Sometimes he had as many as three meetings a day while taking international phone calls and exchanging faxes.

On any given day, he found himself passing dirty money to rabbis in their Brooklyn homes and synagogues, dealing with corrupt officials in greasy spoon diners or greasing development wheels at Atlantic City confabs.

The probe eventually included a black market kidney broker and a rogues’ gallery of bribe-taking dirty politcians in New Jersey. In all, five rabbis and three Jersey mayors — from Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield — were charged.

The probe continued to grow on Friday with Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy confirming he is a target of the ongoing corruption probe.

He denied wrongdoing, but his deputy mayor, Leona Beldini, was among the 44 charged in Thursday’s sweep.

The Associated Press reported that authorities say Dwek passed $10,000 to a man raising money for Healy. If true, it would only reinforce just how busy Dwek was.

Things grew really bizarre when he started meeting with Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, who offered to sell him a kidney. When all was said and done, 44 people were caught up in the federal sting that was announced Thursday.

And while the schemes were different, the motivation was the same: good old greed.

“We’re going to be friends for a good long time,” accused bribe-taking Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, 32,told Dwek at a June 23 meeting this year after being offered $10,000 in cash, court documents indicate.

“I promise you,” he’s recorded saying. “You’re going to be, you’re going to be treated like a friend.”

“How could one guy bring down so many people?” asked Charles Stanziale, a Newark-based trustee liquidating Dwek’s property in a personal bankruptcy case.

“Well, if you stay with it and you’re working full time, one guy gets to meet another guy and it’s like a chain.”

And it probably didn’t hurt that he was offered an unknown deal tied to the bank fraud charges he’s still facing — and a monthly stipend from the FBI to flip.

His chain of deceit started when Dwek, the son of a rabbi, went to defendant Eliahu Ben Haim, rabbi of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal, N.J., where Dwek lives. In June 2007 at Ben Haim’s house, he gave him $50,000 to launder through his charitable group, to be repaid at a later day minus a 10% fee.

“Okay, give me a couple days,” Ben Haim said.

In August 2007 Dwek met with Rabbi Edmond Nahum at his office in Jersey to discuss the best way to launder $45,000, court papers say. Nahum recommended he turn to Rabbi Mordchai Fish of Brooklyn, because he “can do millions of dollars under the ground. Fish is good.”

Fish was good for Dwek. The next month, they started laundering more than a million dollars together.

In January, 2008, Dwek met Fish in his car. which was parked outside his house on Hooper St. in Brooklyn, to trade cash and talk about deals.

A day later, Dwek met with defendant Schmulik Cohen outside his home in Brooklyn to collect a canvas bag containing $300,000 in cash. Two days later, he met defendant Arye Weiss in his Brooklyn home and left with with a black plastic bag containing $50,000 cash.

Dwek began to shift from money laundering with members of the Syrian Jewish community to public corruption in Jersey in 2007, and worked with dirty pols all the way up to the weeks before the indictments came down.

May was particularly busy. On more than one occasion he met accused crooks in three different cities to talk turkey.

On May 7, Dwek had dinner with Jersey City Health Department official Joseph Castagna, who funneled five grand to another city official, Michael Manzo, for help with a zoning change.

“Do I gotta seal this up [referring to the unsealed envelope containing the $5,000 in cash]?” Castagna asked over dinner.

“Do whatever you want with it – [just] give it to him,” Dwek said. “Just make sure when I do my Garfield Avenue zone change, I got [Manzo’s] vote.”

Castagna assured him: “Oh, we’ll be there for you.”

No comments:

Post a Comment