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Orange County, NY - Fed's: Two Members Of KJ Satmar Community Arrested For Conspiring To Kidnap And Murder To Obtain 'Get'

Published on: September 7, 2016 05:31 PM
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Orange County, NY - Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the filing of a federal criminal complaint charging Shimen Liebowitz and Aharon Goldberg with conspiring to kidnap and murder an individual in order to obtain a religious divorce for that individual’s wife.

LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG were arrested yesterday in Central Valley, New York, while meeting to plan the kidnapping and murder.  They will be presented later today before Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman in federal court in Manhattan.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “The defendants are charged with a chilling plot to kidnap and murder the intended victim.  Over a period of months, the Complaint alleges, they met repeatedly to plan the kidnapping and to pay more than $55,000 to an individual they believed would carry it out.  Thanks to the exemplary work of our partners at the FBI and NYPD, Liebowitz and Goldberg are now in custody.”

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FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “As if the plan to kidnap the victim and force him to divorce his wife in this alleged conspiracy wasn’t bad enough, the plotters allegedly decided halfway through the arrangement to go a step further and add murder to the list of their planned crimes.  Our country protects freedom of religious beliefs and practices, but no one is allowed to plot a kidnapping and murder regardless of their motivation.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

According to Jewish religious law as observed in certain communities, in order to effect a divorce, a husband must provide his wife with a document known as a “get.”  A woman whose husband will not consent to a divorce is known as an “agunah.”  In the absence of the husband’s issuing a get, an agunah may be released from her marriage only through the husband’s death.

In early July, an individual (the “CS”) contacted the FBI and reported that the CS had been recruited by LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG to kidnap a particular individual (the “Intended Victim”) in order to force the Intended Victim to issue a get to his wife.  Like the CS, GOLDBERG and LIEBOWITZ are orthodox Jews.  LIEBOWITZ is a member of the Satmar community in Kiryas Joel, New York (a village in Orange County, New York), and GOLDBERG is an Israel-based rabbi who also maintains a position of prominence in Kiryas Joel.

The CS provided the FBI with information about a conversation he had with LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG on or about July 6 or July 7.  During the meeting, which was recorded, the CS feigned interest in participating in the kidnapping.  He, GOLDBERG, and LIEBOWITZ discussed how such a kidnapping might be carried out, including the possibility of luring the Intended Victim to Pennsylvania in order to kidnap him, torture him, and force him to give the get.  The CS, GOLDBERG, and LIEBOWITZ also discussed the possibility of kidnapping the Intended Victim in Ukraine, where the Intended Victim planned to travel in late September to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

GOLDBERG and LIEBOWITZ agreed to advance the CS $25,000 to assist in efforts to plan the kidnapping.  According to the CS, within days of this initial meeting, an envelope containing approximately $25,000 cash was delivered to the CS.

On or about August 9, 2016, the CS met with LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG in Kiryas Joel, New York.  During this meeting, the CS, GOLDBERG, and LIEBOWITZ discussed additional details of the kidnapping plan, including logistics and the cost associated with a plan to kidnap the Intended Victim overseas.  This conversation was also recorded.

On August 12, 2016, the CS again met with LIEBOWITZ and GOLDBERG, at which time they provided the CS with an additional payment of over $20,000 for use in making arrangements for the kidnapping.  In this meeting, which was also recorded, the CS, GOLDBERG and LIEBOWITZ further discussed their plan to kidnap the Intended Victim in the United States and to obtain the get from him in this country.

Subsequent to the August 12, 2016, meeting, the CS had additional conversations with GOLDBERG, in which GOLDBERG discussed his desire not merely to kidnap the Intended Victim, but also to kill him.

On August 25, 2016, the CS met LIEBOWITZ in Central Valley, New York.  During the meeting, LIEBOWITZ paid the CS an additional sum of about $12,000 to carry out the kidnapping.  Also during the meeting, the CS spoke by phone with GOLDBERG, who was still in Israel, about the kidnapping plan, which the CS and GOLDBERG referred to in code as a “wedding,” as well as GOLDBERG’s desire that the CS kill the Intended Victim.  This conversation was also recorded.

On or about September 2, 2016, the CS had another recorded conversation with LIEBOWITZ, during which LIEBOWITZ indicated his understanding that the Intended Victim would be murdered as part of the plan.

LIEBOWITZ, 25, of Monroe, New York, and GOLDBERG, 55, of Bnei Brak, Israel, are charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum potential sentence of life in prison, and one count each of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.


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Total44

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1

 Sep 07, 2016 at 05:41 PM Yossi Says:

how stupid? didn't they learn from Rabbi Epstein's case that those old days are long gone? Ok now comes Pidyen Shave em and collecting for the families who are gonna be left with husbands in prison.

2

 Sep 07, 2016 at 06:02 PM Anonymous Says:

A direct consequence of letting mendel epstein off the hook.

3

 Sep 07, 2016 at 06:28 PM bennyt Says:

All in chodesh Elul!

4

 Sep 07, 2016 at 06:49 PM pnimi Says:

Conspiracy to commit kidnapping carries a longer sentence than conspiracy to commit murder for hire? I don't get it!

5

 Sep 07, 2016 at 06:54 PM Anonymous Says:

People always jump to conclusions....
Goldberg is a well known Asken from Israel who is involved in many difficult divorce cases where the the 2 sides can't come to an agreement.

he was set up by someone here who wanted him out of a case, he does this for 35 years and has never been involved in these kind of stuff. this is a clear setup and mere allegations. hope the truth will come out.

Lebowitz was just his driver and was never involved in anything.

6

 Sep 07, 2016 at 07:08 PM HolyMordy Says:

Something is strange.

If you murder him why bother with the get?
His wife becomes a widow (and she can even marry a Kohain)

7

 Sep 07, 2016 at 07:24 PM IamYid Says:

Reply to #4  
pnimi Says:

Conspiracy to commit kidnapping carries a longer sentence than conspiracy to commit murder for hire? I don't get it!

I had the same question. Must be a mistake.

8

 Sep 07, 2016 at 07:38 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

A direct consequence of letting mendel epstein off the hook.

FYI, Mr. Epstein was sentenced to 10 years in jail. He is currently incarcerated in FCI Fort Dix and is due to be released January 2015.

9

 Sep 07, 2016 at 07:52 PM IamYid Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

A direct consequence of letting mendel epstein off the hook.

How was he let off the hook? Last I heard, he was sentenced to 10 years. Given his age, he may never be free again.

10

 Sep 07, 2016 at 08:46 PM Benny Says:

All you chachomim, that bash the askonim without looking into the matter, all is based on some prosecutor, that some of them are worse than a criminals, like we know from Rubashkin case.
Have you ever try to help an aguna even with a kind word, some Chesed, few dollars, listened to her heartbreaking story?
I bet if you would - you wouldn't sit and comment all the loshon ora on-line, bashing some people who stood up to help them. Where is your "don l'chav zchus"?
I don't say they did a right thing, all I say that we don't know, and if you do know - it's not for the public forum.

11

 Sep 07, 2016 at 08:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

People always jump to conclusions....
Goldberg is a well known Asken from Israel who is involved in many difficult divorce cases where the the 2 sides can't come to an agreement.

he was set up by someone here who wanted him out of a case, he does this for 35 years and has never been involved in these kind of stuff. this is a clear setup and mere allegations. hope the truth will come out.

Lebowitz was just his driver and was never involved in anything.

Sir, I have news for you.
You may not know Goldberg.
You have no clue how many Jewish homes he has destroyed. I have personally been involved in a case, so I'm not about hearsay.

12

 Sep 07, 2016 at 09:03 PM judith Says:

The "get" process, meaning the husband is in control of writing it, has no place in the civilized world. It should be able to be written by either the husband or wife.

13

 Sep 07, 2016 at 09:06 PM ChuchemMuHeOimer Says:

Lebowitz is young and not so smart, he got utilized for unsafe actions by older shrude people. they all know him as a good heated man will never harm anyone.

14

 Sep 07, 2016 at 09:23 PM mr613 Says:

Audio recordings hmmmmmmm?
This should be a slam dunk!
Bharara isn't not know for jumping the gun, this guy is not going to bring a case if it's not air tight!

Get ready here we go 1234 and cue the pidun shvuim campaign !

15

 Sep 07, 2016 at 09:34 PM HALEVI Says:

i CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY THERE ARE SOME ON THIS SITE WHO STATE "OH, IT HAS TO BE A MISTAKE. THEY WERE SETUP; THEY WOULD NEVER DO THAT". I JUST CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW SOME PEOPLE ARE EITHER NAIVE, OR DOWNRIGHT STUPID! THE FACT OF THE MATTER, IS THAT THERE IS NO CORRELATION IN THIS CASE, BETWEEN BEING ULTRA FRUM, AND PLANNING TO ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES SUCH AS KIDNAPPING AND MURDER. THIS KIND OF CONDUCT CANNOT BE TOLERATED BY ANY ETHNIC GROUP, LET ALONE OUR OWN. IF THERE ARE CONVICTIONS IN THIS CASE, THEY SHOULD RECEIVE THE MAXIMUM PENALTY!

16

 Sep 07, 2016 at 09:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
qazxc Says:

FYI, Mr. Epstein was sentenced to 10 years in jail. He is currently incarcerated in FCI Fort Dix and is due to be released January 2015.

January 2015, ha?

17

 Sep 07, 2016 at 09:39 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #9  
IamYid Says:

How was he let off the hook? Last I heard, he was sentenced to 10 years. Given his age, he may never be free again.

From your mouth to G-d's ear.

18

 Sep 07, 2016 at 10:19 PM Anonymous Says:

They can bunk with Shelly.

19

 Sep 07, 2016 at 11:31 PM me Says:

I seriously doubt if two Jews from KJ would commit a murder for money. Kidnap and threaten a man to give a get, they might reason is a mitzva, but murder? NEVER!

20

 Sep 07, 2016 at 11:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Anonymous Says:

They can bunk with Shelly.

I'm a cousin of this crazy guy that don't want to give the get. This story it's not true. He made this mesira for davka. Because a lot of people trying to help he should give the get. He's really mental ill. Nothing to do with him. Nevach his wife. Every body is in her side.

21

 Sep 08, 2016 at 12:11 AM qazxc Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

January 2015, ha?

January 2025. Sorry.

22

 Sep 08, 2016 at 04:18 AM adar29 Says:

Reply to #6  
HolyMordy Says:

Something is strange.

If you murder him why bother with the get?
His wife becomes a widow (and she can even marry a Kohain)

This is not true. If they kill him she doesn't need a get to remarry. Besides no frum Yid would do such a thing. Kill a married man to make his widow available for marriage? Immediately the story of Avraham Avinu saying Sarah Imanu was his sister come to mind. These charges are fabrications against or brethren.

23

 Sep 08, 2016 at 06:58 AM Aron1 Says:

Reply to #12  
judith Says:

The "get" process, meaning the husband is in control of writing it, has no place in the civilized world. It should be able to be written by either the husband or wife.

Being that we are in America, women (and men) are free to write a kesuba or anything else they desire.
Being that we are in America, women (and men) are free to practice their religion, however fashion they desire. For religious Jews, that means to follow the laws of the Torah, even if we don't fully, or even partially, understand the reasons behind those laws.

24

 Sep 08, 2016 at 08:02 AM Benny Says:

All you chachomim, that bash the askonim without looking into the matter, all is based on some prosecutor, that some of them are worse than a criminals, like we know from Rubashkin case.
Have you ever try to help an aguna even with a kind word, some Chesed, few dollars, listened to her heartbreaking story?
I bet if you would - you wouldn't sit and comment all the loshon ora on-line, bashing some people who stood up to help them. Where is your "don l'chav zchus"?
I don't say they did a right thing, all I say that we don't know, and if you do know - it's not for the public forum.

25

 Sep 08, 2016 at 09:36 AM RocklandRes Says:

Reply to #7  
IamYid Says:

I had the same question. Must be a mistake.

No, it's correct - goes back to the Lindbergh kidnapping.

26

 Sep 08, 2016 at 10:11 AM RocklandRes Says:

Reply to #24  
Benny Says:

All you chachomim, that bash the askonim without looking into the matter, all is based on some prosecutor, that some of them are worse than a criminals, like we know from Rubashkin case.
Have you ever try to help an aguna even with a kind word, some Chesed, few dollars, listened to her heartbreaking story?
I bet if you would - you wouldn't sit and comment all the loshon ora on-line, bashing some people who stood up to help them. Where is your "don l'chav zchus"?
I don't say they did a right thing, all I say that we don't know, and if you do know - it's not for the public forum.

This is one of the top Federal prosecutors. They have an inside witness and recordings. Stop the denial. These guys were going to KILL someone. You're good with that. Way too much religion.

27

 Sep 08, 2016 at 11:14 AM ChuchemMuHeOimer Says:

we all know the thruth,.... what does a 55 yr old from israel to do business with a 25 yr yungster from KJ ?????????????????? he got scammed or just stupit and young.

28

 Sep 08, 2016 at 11:32 AM Chaim Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

A direct consequence of letting mendel epstein off the hook.

Off the hook???? Epstien is serving a 10 yr term while all the others too a plea

29

 Sep 08, 2016 at 11:39 AM Chaim Says:

Reply to #14  
mr613 Says:

Audio recordings hmmmmmmm?
This should be a slam dunk!
Bharara isn't not know for jumping the gun, this guy is not going to bring a case if it's not air tight!

Get ready here we go 1234 and cue the pidun shvuim campaign !

Not sure if you are following, but the Skelos and Silver cases are far from air tight. And some of his insider trading cases are far from air tight too.

30

 Sep 08, 2016 at 12:09 PM סייג לחכמה שתיקה Says:

all those who blow out their opinions are "WRONG"
I know the young Lebowitz. he may have used a sharp word when talking to some stranger and expressed himself with some words of "killing" just like you can hear a boy says to the other "if you get me angery, I will kill you" which is just a kind of expression.
But those who are behind the Trap, were in a hunt for them.
some how this Husband new that they have a plan on him. so he placed the undercover agent to trap them.

31

 Sep 08, 2016 at 01:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Aron1 Says:

Being that we are in America, women (and men) are free to write a kesuba or anything else they desire.
Being that we are in America, women (and men) are free to practice their religion, however fashion they desire. For religious Jews, that means to follow the laws of the Torah, even if we don't fully, or even partially, understand the reasons behind those laws.

So religious Jews need to figure this out already. It is the year 2016. Jews have invented Shabbos elevators and pens, no longer practice an eye for an eye, are not running around looking for Canaanites to kill, do not burn the local Hindu temple because it contains idols. There is no question that we can come up with a way to follow the Torah without chaining women to ex-husbands who are free themselves to remarry so see no consequences. The only reason I can think of why we still have this issue is the rampant sexism in frum communities. If it were men who couldn't remarry, this issue would have been halachically solved two millenia ago.

32

 Sep 08, 2016 at 01:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
qazxc Says:

FYI, Mr. Epstein was sentenced to 10 years in jail. He is currently incarcerated in FCI Fort Dix and is due to be released January 2015.

Mr Epstein ended up pushing off his sentnece and s not yet sitting.

33

 Sep 08, 2016 at 01:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
judith Says:

The "get" process, meaning the husband is in control of writing it, has no place in the civilized world. It should be able to be written by either the husband or wife.

The "child visitation" process, meaning the wife has full control of when and how the kids visit their dad should have no place in a civilized world. The husband should have equal say.

It takes two to tango. When women falsley accuse men of abusing kids or they just brainwash kids not to visit dad, men have a right to fight back. Sorry.

34

 Sep 08, 2016 at 02:17 PM ChuchemMuHeOimer Says:

those FEDs are not idiots , they will soon find out that Youngster Lebo was a small player in this case, they will most proberly put pressure on him to give out who is underlying this case.

still he was to young and stupit to be involved in such mitzvos......

35

 Sep 08, 2016 at 02:49 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #32  
Anonymous Says:

Mr Epstein ended up pushing off his sentnece and s not yet sitting.

Wrong. He has been incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix for about four months. About a month ago he tried getting released to house arrest because he had a diabetic foot wound that he claims only his personal physician could treat.

Judge Wolfson wasn't buying it and he spent a few weeks in a nearby hospital and I believe he has already been returned to FCI FD.

36

 Sep 08, 2016 at 02:53 PM judith Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

The "child visitation" process, meaning the wife has full control of when and how the kids visit their dad should have no place in a civilized world. The husband should have equal say.

It takes two to tango. When women falsley accuse men of abusing kids or they just brainwash kids not to visit dad, men have a right to fight back. Sorry.

Husbands also make all kinds of false accusations. The point is that the law must be equal for all, a concept unbeknownst in halacha. Civil courts try their best to rule in the best in interest of the child..

37

 Sep 08, 2016 at 03:20 PM heyward Says:

What i heard that Mr. Goldberg got a first class ticket to new York to do his plot. I guess he wound up in a first class jail. Is the first class return ticket for sale ???

38

 Sep 08, 2016 at 04:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #36  
judith Says:

Husbands also make all kinds of false accusations. The point is that the law must be equal for all, a concept unbeknownst in halacha. Civil courts try their best to rule in the best in interest of the child..

Civil courts believe that the women are always right. They believe the mothers interest is always best for the child. Furthermore, there are lost of things that can't be enforced by the court system yet women take full advantage of the men. For example, when dad has visitation rights but the child sneezes, mom automatically convinces the child oy you have a cold tell dad you are not feeling well and can't come. That's just one of many examples where you see women having full not equal control over children. So the man needs to fight back. Its a fair game my friend. And anyone who thinks vistitaion rights is a small manner never lived thru it. For a dad not being able to sit beside your child by a shabbos meal is like chopping my hand off. Nothing less. Till moms stop abusing visitation rights don't expect fathers to sit back quietly.

39

 Sep 08, 2016 at 05:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
judith Says:

The "get" process, meaning the husband is in control of writing it, has no place in the civilized world. It should be able to be written by either the husband or wife.

First class idiot. In Jewish Law a marriage is a contract between husband and wife, in which the wife undertakes to perform certain services for the husband in return for various services from him. The only way that contract can be anulled is by death or divorce, ie a bill of divorce is a release from the contract.

Should you ever marry, perhaps you may bear that in mind.

40

 Sep 09, 2016 at 12:11 AM judith Says:

Reply to #39  
Anonymous Says:

First class idiot. In Jewish Law a marriage is a contract between husband and wife, in which the wife undertakes to perform certain services for the husband in return for various services from him. The only way that contract can be anulled is by death or divorce, ie a bill of divorce is a release from the contract.

Should you ever marry, perhaps you may bear that in mind.

You didn't even answer my point, so who is the idiot? The bill of divorce should be able to be written by either the man or the woman, that is, in a civilized society.

41

 Sep 09, 2016 at 09:16 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #40  
judith Says:

You didn't even answer my point, so who is the idiot? The bill of divorce should be able to be written by either the man or the woman, that is, in a civilized society.

It appears that you didn't understand my answer. The man betrothes the woman, ie he gives her a ring, or something of value, for which she agrees to perform certain services for him (why should she agree to this? I don't know. I'm not a woman). She is then legally obligted by contract to perform those services until HE severs the contract by a bill of termination (divorce). I'm sorry if you feel that Torah Law is not part of civilised society - Deuteronomy 24:1 'and HE shall write for her a bill of termination ..." Do you need more explicit than that?

However, if you have ever signed a contract under the laws of the civilised socirty that you live - a hire purchase, mortgage etc - just try applying your logic to that, and unilaterally decide to walk off.

42

 Sep 09, 2016 at 02:25 PM sombatyonerchosid Says:

Reply to #41  
Anonymous Says:

It appears that you didn't understand my answer. The man betrothes the woman, ie he gives her a ring, or something of value, for which she agrees to perform certain services for him (why should she agree to this? I don't know. I'm not a woman). She is then legally obligted by contract to perform those services until HE severs the contract by a bill of termination (divorce). I'm sorry if you feel that Torah Law is not part of civilised society - Deuteronomy 24:1 'and HE shall write for her a bill of termination ..." Do you need more explicit than that?

However, if you have ever signed a contract under the laws of the civilised socirty that you live - a hire purchase, mortgage etc - just try applying your logic to that, and unilaterally decide to walk off.

Marriage should not be a contractual arrangement between parties to render services to one another. You're thinking of prostitution or concubinage. It's time to update outdated halacha which denies women equal protection and rights with her husband. Then again, the Torah view of women is that they are chattel to be bartered and discarded at the caprice of males, so one can hardly expect them to be treated any better than they are. So much of fundamentalist Yiddishkeit is morally repugnant and indefensible. Time to make a change for the better!

43

 Sep 09, 2016 at 03:55 PM judith Says:

Reply to #41  
Anonymous Says:

It appears that you didn't understand my answer. The man betrothes the woman, ie he gives her a ring, or something of value, for which she agrees to perform certain services for him (why should she agree to this? I don't know. I'm not a woman). She is then legally obligted by contract to perform those services until HE severs the contract by a bill of termination (divorce). I'm sorry if you feel that Torah Law is not part of civilised society - Deuteronomy 24:1 'and HE shall write for her a bill of termination ..." Do you need more explicit than that?

However, if you have ever signed a contract under the laws of the civilised socirty that you live - a hire purchase, mortgage etc - just try applying your logic to that, and unilaterally decide to walk off.

I feel sorry for any woman who believes she is a "purchase" that can only be severed by the man. It is uncivilized that a human can be treated so unfairly in a court system, and that women are their own worst enemies for accepting that notion. .It pains me to no end. And FYI I celebrated my 34th wedding anniversary recently.

44

 Sep 09, 2016 at 03:57 PM judith Says:

Reply to #38  
Anonymous Says:

Civil courts believe that the women are always right. They believe the mothers interest is always best for the child. Furthermore, there are lost of things that can't be enforced by the court system yet women take full advantage of the men. For example, when dad has visitation rights but the child sneezes, mom automatically convinces the child oy you have a cold tell dad you are not feeling well and can't come. That's just one of many examples where you see women having full not equal control over children. So the man needs to fight back. Its a fair game my friend. And anyone who thinks vistitaion rights is a small manner never lived thru it. For a dad not being able to sit beside your child by a shabbos meal is like chopping my hand off. Nothing less. Till moms stop abusing visitation rights don't expect fathers to sit back quietly.

Civil court doen't always rule in favor of the wife. often the husband is a good convincer.

45

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