A rabbi is among seven people arrested in New York this week for their roles in an alleged scheme to steal from a federal program meant to benefit underprivileged kids.
Proving it’s not just Christians who get caught hypocritically violating the tenets of their faith and breaking the law at the same time, Rabbi Aron Melber has been charged with participating in the scheme to steal from a federal school technology funding program. Melber worked for a religious school in the area, and he used that position as part of an effort to get even more money.
The scheme specifically used funding meant for children in schools that can barely afford pencils and paper to line their own pockets. They didn’t even do it intelligently.
Prosecutors said the suspects lied to claim they were serving as independent consultants and vendors to help obtain and provide telecommunication services to private religious school students across Rockland County. Federal dollars would come from the federal E-Rate program which is funded by the FCC. But investigators said the services were never provided with the seven allegedly stealing much of the money from 2010-2016…
Rabbi Aron Melber who work[ed] at a religious school in Rockland allegedly used his school to try to obtain over $1 million in funds — some which was then allegedly shared among members of the ring or used for purposes not included in the E-rate program.
The FBI said the scam was especially brazen because the suspects requested technology funding for Hasidic religious schools where students are often banned from using the Internet, computers and any other kind of technology.
In one case, over $500,000 in video conferencing equipment was ordered for a day-care center serving toddlers 2-4 years old. The FBI said that equipment order would “serve no real purpose for the student population.”
This is a pretty massive scam, but these aren’t all that rare in the world of white collar crime. What’s unique here is the targeting of religious schools, and the alleged involvement of a rabbi who follows a religion that specifically teaches adherents to help poor people.
It just goes to show that even strict religious dogma won’t stop some people from committing major crimes, nor from being hypocrites.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)