Atlanta Man Indicted in New York for Securities Fraud, Insider Trading

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Scott Allen, of Atlanta, was charged last week with securities fraud and insider trading in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, according to the Wall Street Journal. The government alleges that Mr. Allen and John Bennett of Norwalk, Connecticut, conspired to make more than $2.6 million in profits on insider trades of pharmaceutical stocks. Mr. Allen was a former employee of Mercer, a gloabl human resources consulting firm, and Mr. Bennett was an independent film producer and stock trader. The criminal complaint against the defendants charges that Mr. Allen allegedly obtained information regarding acquisitions by pharmaceutical companies in 2008 and 2009, and gave the information to Mr. Bennett. Mr. Bennett is charged with using the information to make $2.6 million in trades, while paying Mr. Allen $100,000 in kickbacks.

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Fayetteville Man Indicted on Federal Charges for Defrauding Colleges and Universities

The season for college sports is upon us once again and what better way to honor the occasion than with a bit of news from 7th Space Interactive that Dale Brannan, of Fayetteville, Georgia, has been indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for defrauding various universities and colleges, including Kansas State University, the University of New Mexico, Oakland University, Stonehill College and Minnesota State University - Mankato. Mr. Brannan was arraigned last week on charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and one count of making a false declaration in a bankruptcy filing.

Mr. Brannan is alleged to have operated a company called Transport Athletics in Fayetteville and Savannah, Georgia, which purportedly arranged for overseas travel for collegiate sports teams to countries including China, Italy, Brazil and Finland. However, the government has charged that he used the funds paid by universities and colleges to pay the costs of earlier trips of other schools and to pay his personal expenses.

Mr. Brannan is alleged to have caused Transports Athletics to file for bankruptcy and notified the schools that the trips had been cancelled. He then allegedly started another company, Sports Tours and Tournament Specialists, Inc., or STATS, and re-commenced the scheme. The alleged loss from the activities is over $400,000.

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Former Yankees Pitcher Roger Clemens Granted Mistrial in Prosecution for False Statements, Perjury and Obstruction


As reported by ESPN (and virtually every other media outlet), United States District Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens' request for a mistrial in his prosecution on three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury, and one count of obstruction for his testimony relating to steroid use before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February of 2008.

The defense request for a mistrial came after prosecutors showed the jury alleged video evidence of Maryland Representative and Committee member Elijah Cummings referencing statements by former Yankees pitcher and Clemens' friend Andy Pettitte that he had told his wife, Laura Pettitte, that Clements had allegedly confessed in 1999 or 2000 to using human growth hormone. The Court had ruled before trial that this evidence was to be excluded from the trial on the ground that Pettitte's wife's statement did not involve direct knowledge of what Clemens had said.

In granting the mistrial, Judge Walton opined that Clemens could not get a fair trial as a result of the introduction of the alleged statements, and apologized to the jury for the waste of their time. The Judge had earlier criticized the prosecution for stating, during opening statements, that Pettitte and former Yankee second baseman, Chuck Knoblauch, and relief pitcher, Mike Stanton, had also allegedly used human growth hormone.

Judge Walton has scheduled a hearing on September 2nd to determine if there will be a new trial of Clemens.  It appears, however, that a second trial of Clemens will not be barred by double jeopardy. As the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and other courts have held, "when a mistrial is declared with the consent of the defendant or upon his motion, it is 'ordinarily assumed to remove any barrier to reprosecution, even if the defendant's motion is necessitated by prosecutorial or judicial error.'” Lee-Thomas v. U.S., 921 A.2d 773, 775-76 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (quoting Carter v. U.S., 497 A.2d 438, 441 n. 4 (D.C. 1985); citing Anderson v. U.S., 481 A.2d 1299, 1300 (D.C. 1984)); U.S. v. Jorn, 400 U.S. 470, 485, 91 S.Ct. 547 (1971)).

New York Attorney Salvatore J. Piemonte Acquitted on Federal Charges of Allegedly Aiding and Abetting Drug Dealers

Salvatore J. Piemonte, a former prosecutor for the Onondage County District Attorney's Office in Syracuse, New York, for seven years, and former a local judge, was indicted last November in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York for allegedly aiding and abetting the sale of marijuana, according to The government charged that Mr. Piemonte allegedly accepted a large sum of money from drug dealers in exchange for providing them with false documentation. The documentation allegedly falsely represented that a courier for the drug dealers had been arrested, and the drug dealers purportedly intended to show the documentation to their supplier in Canada in a scheme to pocket the proceeds from their drug sales. 

Happily, yesterday, a jury acquitted Mr. Piemonte on the charges following trial. His defense centered on a frequent theme in such prosecutions--that the drug dealer witnesses for the government had fabricated the allegations in order to get their sentences reduced. The Blog congratulates Mr. Piemonte and his counsel on the victory. 

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Diamond Store Owner Arthur Hiaeve Acquitted on Federal Money Laundering Charges on Venue Grounds

Arthur "Avi" Hiaeve, owner of the Manhattan diamond store, Hiaeve & Co., was acquitted last Wednesday on money laundering charges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. According to Reuters, Senior District Judge Allyne Ross granted Mr. Hiaeve's motion for judgment of acquittal on the seven counts of laundering drug money through his business as well as charges of avoiding currency reporting requirements, holding that a single telephone call by Mr. Hiaeve to a government informant was insufficient to establish venue in the Eastern District, and that Mr. Hiaeve should have been prosecuted in Manhattan in the Southern District of New York. The prosecution responded that Mr. Hiaeve allegedly had reason to know that he was laundering money coming from drug operations operating in the Eastern District of New York. Double jeopardy bars a subsequent prosecution of Mr. Hiaeve in Manhattan.

The government had alleged that Mr. Hiaeve laundered at least $106,000 on five occasions. Employees of Hiaeve, Kevin and Tanny Donaldson, were also charged with laundering drug money and entered pleas of guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering, respectively. Mr. Hiaeve is still involved in a civil forfeiture suit involving $3 million in diamonds and $17,900 in seized currency.

 Source: Elite Choice

New York Senator May Be Retried in Wake of Supreme Court's "Honest Services" Fraud Decision

New York Senator Joseph L. Bruno was indicted in January of 2009 on eight counts of fraud. A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York acquitted Bruno, who is now 81 years old and the former Republican Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, on five of the remaining charges and deadlocked on the sixth in December of 2009. The charges were based on allegations that Bruno allegedly took approximately $3 million in kickbacks from businesses seeking to do business in New York, as well as labor unions. In particular, Bruno s alleged to have accepted $280,000 in "consulting fees" from companies associated with Loudonville, New York, businessman Jared Abbruzzese. Bruno was sentenced to two years' imprisonment last May, but has remained free pending his appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Now the U.S. Attorney's Office has filed a brief with the Court of Appeals requesting that the dismiss the charges against Bruno and remand his case for a new trial, as reported in the Saratogan. The prosecution argued that Bruno's convictions under 18 United States Code Section 346--the honest services fraud statute--cannot stand following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Skilling, the case against former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling, as the Blog has noted here. However, it maintains that it can obtain another indictment of Bruno under the statute, as amended by Skilling. The government contends that it will be able to prove a quid pro quo if Bruno is ordered retried. Bruno and his counsel have filed a brief with the Court of Appeals arguing that any retrial of Bruno would violate double jeopardy.

President Obama Issues Pardons; To Rob or Not to Rob? 78 Year-Old Georgia Man Charged With Bank Robbery

Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article on the nine pardons announced by the White House on Friday--the first pardons issued by President Obama. The pardons related to a variety of offenses dating all the way back to 1960. Only recipient appears to have been charged with an alleged federal, "white collar" crime--Laurens Dorsey, of Syracuse, New York, sentenced in 1998 to five years of probation and $71,000 in restitution for conspiracy to defraud by making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration

78 year-old George B. Hamlet of Georgia, unlike his prevaricating namesake, has allegedly taken decisive action to knock off a bank in Knoxville, Tennessee, according to an article at Mr. Hamlet allegedly brandished a  weapon, jumped on the counter at First Tennessee Bank in Knoxville, and began collecting money from the tellers. Mr. Hamlet was stopped by a security guard as he was leaving the bank, and has been charged with one count of bank robbery in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Life in Shambles for New Hampshire Psychiatrist Acquitted of VA Charges

Dr. William Weeks had a life many would envy. He was a prominent psychiatrist, a professor at Dartmouth College, a physician at the local Department of Veterans’ Affairs hospital, a nationally-recognized expert on rural healthcare, the head of his town’s School Board and treasurer of his church.

However, as reported by Fox News, his life fell apart after 2004 when investigators conducting an audit began looking at five $1.5 million contracts between Dr. Weeks and the VA hospital. The VA was believed to have developed an animus against Dr. Weeks over his articles in medical journals discussin how the VA could improve healthcare to veterans in rural areas by using non-VA providers. The investigation led in 2009 to Dr. Weeks being charged with five misdemeanor charges of violations of conflict of interest rules. The government alleged that Dr. Weeks placed himself on both sides of the contracts and funneled unused grant monies to his expense account at Dartmouth to pay for a sabbatical.  The VA also filed a civil action against him.


Fortunately for Dr. Weeks, he was acquitted on all counts following an eight day trial in April. However, his life had been ruined. He was terminated from his position, his marriage fell apart, he had incurred six-figure legal bills and he had attempted to commit suicide three times—twice by carbon monoxide and once by pills. The VA agreed to pay Dr. Weeks $800,000 to settle his civil claims. However, it insisted that he resign his position as a condition. Darmouth also agreed to pay the VA to settle allegations of improper conduct involving the administration of contracts with the hospital. Prosecutors continue to maintain that the prosecution was justified.


Georgia Piano Importer Charged Over Alleged 100 Year Old Elephant Ivory; Loganville Man Allegedly Bilked New York Investor Into Paying $5 Million in Foreign Currency Scheme

In Georgia Federal Criminal news, the Associated Press reports that Federal prosecutors charged A-440 Pianos, Inc., a piano importer in the Atlanta area, and its owner, Pascal Vieillard, last week with alleged illegal smuggling of 855 elephant ivory key tops into the U.S. Mr. Vieillard and the company pled not guilty, and Mr. Vieillard's counsel has stated that the ivory at issue is more than 100 years old.

In other news, Tony Leon Smith, a resident of Loganville, Georgia, has been charged with wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Smith is alleged to have falsely represented himself to an entrepreneur in the Rochester area as a successful investor in foreign currencies and to have promised a 100 percent return within 90 days for investments in alleged foreign exchange instruments. Smith allegedly convinced the man to set up a corporation in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and to wire $5 million to the corporation. Smith allegedly then withdrew $537,467 from the company's account and converted it to his own use.


In-House Counsel to the Mob? Court Denies Government's Motion to Disqualify Attorney Joseph Corozzo, Jr.

As reported by the New York Law Journal, Michael Scarpaci is current charged as an alleged associate of the Gambino crime organization in the Southern District of New York in an indictment charging racketeering violations, including murder, witness tampering, murder of a witness, extortion, narcotics and sex trafficking a minor. In a twist, however, Scarpaci's lawyer, Joseph R. Corozzo, Jr., is also alleged to have connections to the Gambino family, and the prosecution sought to disqualify Corozzo from the case for alleged conflicts of interest. Specifically, Corozzo's father, Joseph Corozzo Sr., is a consigliere of the Gambino family. His uncle, Nicholas Corozzo, is a capo. And Corozzo himself is alleged to serve as the organization's "in house counsel."

Prosecutors moved to disqualify Corozzo from representing Scarpaci, citing Corozzo's disqualification in April from representing Gaetano Napoli, Sr., on the ground that Corozzo had been present at two meetings with his client in 2009 in which they discussed what to do if Napoli was ever approached by law enforcement. Corozzo had advised Napoli to say nothing and give investigators the number for his attorney. Sound advice from a criminal defense attorney--which the government of course alleged constituted obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors also cited a 2006 recorded conversation in which Scarpaci's co-defendant, Daniel Marino, and an alleged Gambino associate, Lewis Kasman, discussed the possibility of Corozzo being arrested and disbarred, arguing that the conversation implicated Corozzo in the racketeering conspiracy charged in the indictment. Finally, the government contended that Corozzo had previously represented a witness for the government in the case.

District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the government's motion, holding that the government had not identified any actual conflict from Corozzo's representation of Scarpaci, and noted that Scarpaci could make a knowing and intelligent waiver of any potential conflicts. The Judge found that the alleged conflict in the Napoli case was not related to the case against Scarpaci, and that the Court in that case never made any finding that Corozzo's alleged conduct obstructed justice. Judge Kaplan also observed that the conversation between Marino and Kasman did not suggest that Corozzo had engaged in any criminal conduct. The Court further noted that the subject matter of Corozzo's representation of the government witness, and was only "tangentially related" to the subject matter of the case. Finally, regarding Corozzo's family connections with the Gambino family, the Court held that there was no evidence that Corozzo's father or uncle had had in any way supervised any of the RICO acts allegedly committed by Scarpaci.

Blagjojevich Jury Still Out--Two Weeks Later; NY Company and Owner Indicted in GA for Purchasing Stolen Baby Formula, Razors

As most of the nation is aware, the jury continues to deliberate in the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother, Robert. As noted on the Chicago Tribune's Blagojevich on Trial blog,  on Friday the jury informed U.S. District Judge James Zagel that it had reached a verdict on only two counts. The jury has not begun deliberations on 11 wire fraud counts against Blagojevich. It began its deliberations in the case over two weeks ago, on July 28.

In Georgia federal criminal news, Brooklyn Tobacco Wholesalers, Inc., a New York corporation, and its owner Tony Tavares, were indicted last week in the Northern District of Georgia on one count of conspiracy and 15 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property, according to a press release for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia. The company and Tavares are alleged to have knowingly purchased stolen baby formula and razors from professional shoplifters, known as "boosters," at two Atlanta businesses.


New York Defendant Indicted for $50 Million in Fraud from ATM, Armored Car and Other Businesses

As reflected in an FBI press release, an indictment was unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Robert Egan, President of Mount Vernon Money Center (MVMC) on Wednesday charging Egan with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud and six counts of bank fraud for allegedly defrauding banks and other financial institutions of approximately $50 million.

MVMC operated various cash management businesses, including replenishing cash for over 5,300 automated teller machines (ATMs), payroll services for businesses, and an armored car service, Armored Money Services (AMS). MVMC's clients included banks and financial institutions, businesses and universities. MVMC also had several cash vaults to store and process cash from its businesses.

The government alleges that, from 2005 through 2010, Egan and MVMC's Chief Operating Officer, Barnard McGarry, allegedly collected hundreds of millions of dollars from MVMC clients based on false representations that they would not commingle clients' funds or use the funds for purposes other than those specified in MVMC's agreements with the clients. However, Egan and McGarry are alleged to have engaged in a practice known as "playing the float," in which they misappropriated funds from the substantial cash flow into MVMC to their own uses, to pay prior client obligations or to cover operating expenses of MVMC's businesses. Egan and McGarry are also alleged to have commingled its clients' monies in its accounts and cash vaults, and instructed employees to use whatever monies were available to replenish ATM machines. McGarry is alleged to have transferred clients' monies among MVMC's accounts. In addition, both defendants are alleged to have made false representations in reports to ATM clients regarding the amount of funds MVMC allegedly held in its vaults for the clients. MVMC was entrusted with approximately $70 to $75 million by its clients, but allegedly only kept approximately $20 to $25 million in its accounts and vaults.

Egan was arrested last month. A receiver has been appointed to administer MVMC. The press release stated that the case was brought in coordination with the White House's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. Among the officials who addressed the media in conjunction with the press release was the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) Neil Barofsky.

"J4guar17" a/k/a "Soupnazi" a/k/a Super Hacker Albert Gonzalez Pleads Guilty to One of the Largest Data Thefts in U.S. History

Once again demonstrating the massive potential for crime created by our digital age, 28 year-old Albert Gonzalez pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to payment card networks last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey according to a DOJ press release. Gonzalez was charged with hacking into the computer networks of major financial and retail organizations and stealing data on tens of millions of credit cards and debit cards, in one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history. He gained unauthorized access to the payment card networks of New Jersey-based, Heartland Payment Systems; Texas-based convenience store chain 7-Eleven; and Hannaford Brothers Co. Inc., a Maine-based supermarket chain. He was indicted in New Jersey in August 2009. In September 2009, Gonzalez also pled guilty in the U.S. Distric Court for the District of Massachusetts to 19 counts of conspiracy, computer fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft for hacking into retailers including TJX Companies, BJ’s Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble and Sports Authority. In the same month, he pled guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for hacking into the system of Dave and Buster's, a restaurant chain, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Gonzalez had several servers, or "hacking platforms," and would give access to the servers to other hackers. Gonzalez and others would use the platforms to store malicious software, or "malware," in launching attacks on their victims. Gonzalez's plea agreement states that it was forseeable that Gonzalez and his co-conspirators would have used the malware to steal tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers, affecting more than 250 financial institutions.

Gonzalez tested malware by running multiple anti-virus programs in an attempt to ascertain if the programs detected the malware. According to information in the plea agreement, it was foreseeable to Gonzalez that his co-conspirators would use malware to Gonzalez was indicted in New Jersey in August 2009 for this criminal conduct. His plea agreement provides for a sentence of imprisonment between 17 and 25 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced in the Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey cases in March.

The charges against Gonzalez are staggering in their scope. They also demonstrate that would-be cybercriminals should consider their online aliases carefully, as they may resurface in a Federal indictment, as in the case of Albert Gonzalez a/k/a "j4guar17" a/k/a "soupnazi," etc.

FBI Operation "Bid Rig" Nabs 44 Suspects in New Jersey Public Corruption, Illegal Organ Transplant and Designer Merchandise Schemes


The 44 public officials and other persons arrested in the massive sweep on Thursday by the FBI, the result of efforts by the convicted son of a rabbi, include:

Daniel Van Pelt, State Assemblyman;

Peter Cammarano III, Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey;

Dennis Elwell, Mayor of Secaucus, New Jersey;

Anthony Suarez, Mayor of Ridgefield, New Jersey;

Leona Beldini, Deputy Mayor of Jersey City;

Mariano Vega, President of the Jersey City Council, Commissioner with the Jersey City Housing Authority and Director of Parks, Engineering and Planning for Hudson County, New Jersey;

L. Harvey Smith, President of the Jersey City Council and former State Assemblyman;

Lou Manzo former State Assemblyman;

Edward Cheatam, Jersey City Housing Authority Commissioner and Hudson County Affirmative Action officer;

Michael Schaffer an employee of the North Hudson Sewerage Authority and former Hoboken Councilman;

John Guarini, city taxi inspector and former 13th District Congressional candidate

Denis Jaslow, former 32nd District State Senate candidate;

Guy Catrillo, Michael J. Manzo and LaVern Webb Washington, former Jersey City City Council candidates;

Richard Greene, former aide to L. Harvey Smith;

Joseph Cardwell, Jack Shaw, political operatives;

Also Moshe Altman, Charles Amon, Joseph Castagna, Schmulik Cohen, Levi Deutsch, Yeshayahu Ehrental, Mordchai Fish, Yolie Gertner, David S. Goldhirsh, Shimon Haber, Eliahu Ben Haim, Itzak Friedlander, Saul Kassin, Maher A. Khalil, Ron Manzo, Edmond Nahum, Abraham Pollack, Levi Izhak Rosenbaum, Lori Serrano, Jack Shaw, Vincent Tabbachino, Jeffrey Williamson, Lavel Schwartz, Binyomin Spira, Naftoly Weber and Arye Weiss.

As reported by various sources here, here and here, the arrests were part of a 10-year, two-track investigation by the FBI, code named “Bid Rig” which uncovered three criminal schemes: bribery of public officials; an international money laundering ring operating between Deal, New Jersey, and Israel; and trafficking in illegal kidneys and Gucci bags. The schemes were uncovered by a confidential informant had been charged with bank fraud in 2006 and agreed to work with the FBI. Five rabbis from New Jersey and New York were among those arrested. Hundreds of federal agents raided the suspects’ homes in New Jersey and New York. There were so many arrestees that they had to be brought to FBI headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, by bus. One religious leader arrived in a Mercedes-Benz. Bail was set as high as $3 million for some of the suspects.

FBI Special Agent Ed Kahrer stated to reporters that New Jersey has one of the worst, if not the worst, public corruption problems in the nation, and that corruption has become “engrained” in New Jersey’s “political cult.” Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr., announced that the conspiracy, which was headed by rabbis cloaked their criminal activity in a “facade of rectitute.”

Investigators stated that they have hundreds of hundreds of hours of video and audio recordings containing evidence of money laundering and bribery.

The Public Corruption and Bribery Cases

A criminal complaint filed against Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, 32, alleges that Cammarano accepted a bribe in exchange for giving priority to an FBI informant posing as a real estate developer wanting to develop property in Hoboken. Hoboken’s waterfront contains prime real estate across from Manhattan. The informant is believed to have been Solomon Dwek, who was arrested in 2007 and charged with bank fraud for bouncing a $25 million check. Dwek is the son of Rabbi Isaac Dwek of the Deal Synagogue in Deal, New Jersey, which was raided by the FBI on Thursday. Dwek told the conspirators that he was in bankruptcy and was interested in hiding his assets.

The informant met Cammarano while he was running for Mayor and told Cammarano that he would give him $10,000. The complaint alleges that Cammarano promised the informant that he would sponsor the plans and treat the informant like a “friend.” Michael Schaffer, a North Hudson Utilities Authority commissioner and former Hoboken Councilman, allegedly acted as a middle man for the bribe.

Cammarano has only been in office for three weeks. He allegedly told the informant that those who oppose him get “ground into powder.” When the discussion turned to a possible runoff election with Cammarano’s challenger Dawn Zimmer, who lost the election by only 161 votes, Cammarano allegedly told the informant “I could be indicted and still get 85 to 95 percent of the vote.” Cammarano’s attorney, Joseph Hayden, has made a statement that Cammarano intends to fight the charges.

Cammarano is charged with allegedly accepting a total of $25,000 in cash bribes. Dennis Elwell, 64, Mayor of Secaucus is charged with allegedly accepting a $10,000 cash bribe and Anthony Suarez, 42, Mayor of Ridgefield, is also charged with allegedly accepting a $10,000 cash payment—for his legal defense fund.

L. Harvey Smith, Jersey City Council President, and several other current and former Jersey City public officials also are accused of allegedly accepting money to help the fake developer gain permits and approvals. Deputy Mayor of Jersey City Leona Beldini is charged with conspiracy to commit extortion for allegedly accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

FBI agents raided the home and office of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner and former State Senator Joe Doria as part of the investigation. Doria resigned on Thursday afternoon. Officials have not stated whether he will face charges.

The Money Laundering and Black Market Organ and Designer Goods Cases

Five rabbis from Deal and Brooklyn were charged with alleged money laundering and sale of fake designer bags. The rabbis were approached by Dwek and dealt with him, despite the fact that it was well known that he had been charged by the government. Dwek’s dealings with the rabbis eventually uncovered the public corruption case when a Jersey City building inspector accepted a $20,000 bribe. Rabbi Saul Kassin of Deal is charged with allegedly laundering more than $200,000. Mordchai Fish, a rabbi at Congregation Sheves Achim, and his brother, Lavel Schwartz, laundered nearly $600,000 for Dwek, giving him cash and taking a 15% cut.

Agents raided “cash houses” run by associates of the rabbis, including a charity called Bnoth Jerusalem and a beeper store.

Levy Rosenbaum, a Brooklyn resident, was charged in a criminal complaint with allegedly conspiring to broker a sale of a human kidney for transplant for $160,000. The complaint further alleged that Rosenbaum had been selling kidneys from vulnerable persons in Israel for 10 years, which he would purchase for $10,000 and sell in the U.S. for $160,000.

The public corruption scandals will undoubtedly figure into the current U.S. Senate contest between Senator Jon Corzine and former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who claims to have obtained 130 convictions of elected and appointed officials on corruption charges.