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Lakewood, NJ - Cheder Settle School Lunch Overcharge Case

Published on: November 1, 2006 11:07 AM
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Lakewood, NJ - The Lakewood Ceder School, a private Jewish school, has agreed to pay more than $1 million to the federal government in connection with allegations that it provided false information as part of the National School Lunch Program, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.  According to the settlement agreement, Lakewood Cheder School submitted false information and statements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the department’s Bureau of Child Nutrition, with having more than 1,100 pre-school age children claiming for lunches at the ineligible and unapproved sites.  The Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph A. Filko, Deputy Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “This is an abuse of government funds that takes money away from other children who are truly in need and deserving of these resources,” said Christie. “It is wrong, and we will continue to look for such misappropriations and recoup that money so that it can serve the intended recipients.”  

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Read Comments (60)  —  Post Yours »


 Nov 04, 2006 at 01:32 PM yoni Says:

I don't understand all the comments justifying what the Cheder did - school taxes, paperwork oversight, everyone else does it, etc. The bottom line is that the Cheder ADMITTED guilt by agreeing to pay. My next question is, where oh where will they get all that money to pay the government?


 Nov 02, 2006 at 01:58 PM Anonymous Says:

I cannot let this one go unsaid.

I just finished reading the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement issued by the Dept. of Justice (Only 12 pages long). This is available on the DOJ website.

The signature page has the Lakewood Cheder School signed by someone who writes or prints out his title as Vise President. Yes, Vise President, rather than Vice President. Is this person educated?


 Nov 02, 2006 at 12:27 PM Anonymous Says:

It serves them right they spent years rejecting children who were not frum enough for the Holy Lakewoods standards what goes around comes around. Dos stealing from the government make you frum enough.

Not Frum Enough


 Nov 02, 2006 at 09:24 AM John from DC Says:

8:00 I don't fully understand this society but I like them, so I picked up a lot.

They keep themselves socially segregated to keep outside societies from influencing their society. Hence no public schools.

Where things went wrong I believe is that they blunted the human connection. Lot's of ultra orthodox perceive our being different as aliens/animals. They are very disciplined so there are no serious physical attacks due to this attitude.

Excluding the money factor. Unlike the Amish who are socially AND technologically segregated, the orthodox are not. To the contrary the orthodox are very sophisticated technologically. Hence the sophisticated scams.


 Nov 02, 2006 at 08:52 AM Anonymous Says:

Don't complain on this blog for spreading something that in PRINT MEDIA lakewood is guilty of being the first to spread lies in blogs


 Nov 01, 2006 at 08:00 PM Anonymous Says:

To anon at 9:45am:
1. Why can't you send your children to public school?
I'm looking for a serious answer. If it's against your religion, why? Are orthodox children not allowed to be around non-orthodox children? And if so, why?
2. I have no children, and pay the same exorbitant taxes that you do. I know how much it cost to run a household, I am a tax paying home owner as well. I am supporting the public school system and now I am supporting your childrens "quality religious education" and their free lunches? Where's my voucher?
3. "The gov't always has food programs so there is no reason not include the pre school kids." Does this include children of people living in $500,000 and up homes? If you can afford that, you can afford to feed your own children lunch.
Gov't food programs are meant for poor people, not people who are just having a rough time because their mortgage payments are too high. Where do we draw the line?
Should Donald Trumps children get free lunches and school vouchers for their private school?

Maybe we wouldn't have to pay such exorbitant taxes if we stop all of these hand-outs for people taking advantage of the system.

Anon in Lakewood


 Nov 01, 2006 at 04:51 PM john from dc Says:

I like this debate. At least the tide is turning. Hopefully one day your money will be as Kosher as your food and "---".

go $-kosher-$ go, Keep the heat up!!!!


 Nov 01, 2006 at 03:20 PM moshe 16 Says:

if you what to give money then you can talk but if nobody gives how are they supose to pay the rabbim and about food stamp hud and all that then give me money you losssssssssssssssssssssssssers????????????????????????????????????????


 Nov 01, 2006 at 01:49 PM Anonymous Says:



 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:34 PM Anonymous Says:

To Anon 12:09
The good might outway the bad as far as we MIGHT be concerned, however, the Chilul Hashem is what gets reported in the secular press.
As to "Where are they going to get their money from" , I guess you would say that stealing money from a bank would be OK for Lakewood as well. What would the Roshei Yeshivas say to that?


 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:30 PM Anonymous Says:






 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:29 PM Anonymous Says:

Hey, "nynjbuff" (what is that - a makeup pad?), lets have a look at your tax records!!



 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:23 PM Anonymous Says:


what does azba mean?


 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:18 PM Anonymous Says:

I am glad to see that once and for all, the litvishe velt can now see that its not just the chassidisher counterparts that were doing this, and now the apple of their eye, LAKEWOOD, was now caught doing the same.

Maybe next years conference on business ethics should be held in Lakewood and not in Boro Park.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:18 PM Anonymous Says:

happens to be the individual who dealt in these govt programs has recently been deceasd
if you read the comments you notice it wasnt a clear case of chas vcholila fraud as these are legitmate pre schools located off school location due to the schools not having space and starting a year later then other frum communities hence the students are real live kicking and eligable for lunch programs only issue was being off grounds of school its a completley diffrent picture then you read in the papers


 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:11 PM Anonymous Says:

face the FACTS....the school HAD to KNOW that they were circumventing the law.....go by the RULES and there will be NO CHILUL HASHEM.....


 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:09 PM Anonymous Says:

We can bash Lakewood all we want- the positive far outweighs the negative- keep in mind that Lakewood is a city for all and has grown due to its affordability. It is a great place to live.
Where are they going to get the money from?


 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:01 PM Anonymous Says:

neval pah i dont think so maybe nival azba


 Nov 01, 2006 at 11:40 AM Anonymous Says:

I agree with anon 1016,

nivul peh=foul language.

Defender 949, who since changed his handle to ANONYMOUS 1057, is using nivul peh on this blog.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 11:29 AM in the know Says:

the cheders only mistake was trying to protect the illegal playgroups
other lunch programs give to kindergarten s LEGALLY they just have report their income and become a registered site


 Nov 01, 2006 at 11:26 AM What is heimish? Bakery? Says:

How are people from lakewood posting to this blog? Isnt the internet illegal in that area? Tsk tsk...


 Nov 01, 2006 at 11:05 AM Anonymous Says:

As reported elsewhere:
There is an article in todays Asbury Park Press & the New York Newsday claiming that Lakewood Cheder ”has agreed to pay the government nearly $1.3 million to settle allegations that it submitted false certifications for payment under the National School Lunch Program.” It also stated that “according to the settlement agreement, Lakewood Cheder received more than $953,000 in excess school lunch program payments as a result of the false information it submitted between 1996 and 2000.”
The facts are that Lakewood Cheder does not have any kindergarten in their school - and were distributing hundreds of lunches daily to multiple different locations throughout Lakewood at private kindergartens. These kindergartens were in fact registered with Lakewood Cheder as the offical Lakewood Cheder Kindergartens, but failed to register them with the Government.
[In other words: The children “existed” in kindergartens which were scattered throughout Lakewood; they just were not in the Lakewod Cheder building. If Lakewood Cheder had properly registered all of the addresses, there would have never been an issue.]
As soon as The Cheder was placed under investigation, they were not supplied ANY lunches until this date.
The fact remains that the US Government owes Lakewood Cheder close to $900,000 for all of the lunches that it’s school failed to receive due to this “investigation”.
Lakewood Cheder IS in fact paying the US Government a large sum of money, but not the amount which the newspapers so gleefully wrote. After subtracting the amount owed by the US Government to Lakewood Cheder, the amount that they will pay the Government is only about $400,000 and not the $1.3 million as they claim.
Just another example of inaccurate reporting in the mainstream media.

Here is the article from The New York Newsday:
An Ocean County private school has agreed to pay the government nearly $1.3 million to settle allegations that it submitted false certifications for payment under the National School Lunch Program, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
According to the settlement agreement, Lakewood Cheder School, a private all-boys Jewish school in Lakewood, received more than $953,000 in excess school lunch program payments as a result of the false information it submitted between 1996 and 2000.
Specifically, the government charged that the school submitted claims for school lunches that were served at approximately 90 private residences that were ineligible and unapproved school sites. More than 1,100 preschool age children were claimed to have received the lunches.
“This is an abuse of government funds that takes money away from other children who are truly in need and deserving of these resources,” said the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Christopher J. Christie, whose office prosecuted the case. “It is wrong, and we will continue to look for such misappropriations and recoup that money so that it can serve the intended recipients.”
Though some of the homes served as nurseries and preschools, they were not authorized for reimbursement under the school lunch program.
“You have to get certified. There’s an inspection process and nutritional requirements,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph A. Filko. “They were submitting claims for money under a program they weren’t entitled to.”
Lakewood Cheder School did not admit liability by agreeing to the settlement.
Reached at his office in New York, the school’s attorney, David G. Liston, declined to comment on the settlement.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

I wonder if the Yated will print a story about this Chillul Hashem.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 10:57 AM Anonymous Says:

Anon 10:16

Two things.

1. You do not know the definition of nivul peh.

2. And all the loshen horah in the last 3 months
doesn't bother you?

You are one of the idiots Defender was talking about!


 Nov 01, 2006 at 10:50 AM it HAD to be an error! Says:

Cant we all go on the assumption that this was a clerical error? Dont yall think if this was CHV real, the dollars would have been HIGHER??!?!?


 Nov 01, 2006 at 10:47 AM Anonymous Says:

I just hope with all of my heart, that these "goodhearted" commenters & bloggers Don't sit at "bais din shel maaleh", since their judgement is ALLWAYS rude & extremely 'dan lekaf choiv'.

the mishna says:
'vehevay dan es kol hu'udum lkaf zchus'

I just wonder on all these (evil) negative bloggers crticising allways & everybody: are you 100% perfect?
bain odum lachvairoi ubain odum lamokoim?
what about your dealings with the gov.? taxes & other state obligations?

Start doing your own accounting on your 'guf uneshomo, before judging other people


 Nov 01, 2006 at 10:16 AM Anonymous Says:

I have been particpaiting on this blog now for some 3 months. I am absolutley shocked that the indiviudal running this would accept the nivul peh of

defender (949am)

I am not a yishivish guy(and I am OK with that), but absolutley no good will come forth from a blog that publishes and circulates nibul peh.

I have therefore concluded that this blog may not be the kosher way of expressing opinions.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 10:12 AM Mr. 8:26am. Says:

Burnw said...
About the only intelligent comment posted thus far is anon 826.

Were gedolim consulted on how the yeshiva conducts its business vis a vis the Federal Govt. (or state or local govt. for that matter)

The other comments are shtusim.
Thank you!


 Nov 01, 2006 at 10:01 AM Burnw Says:

About the only intelligent comment posted thus far is anon 826.

Were gedolim consulted on how the yeshiva conducts its business vis a vis the Federal Govt. (or state or local govt. for that matter)

The other comments are shtusim.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 09:49 AM Defender Says:

Question for all of the A$$HOLES trashing Lakewood and the Lakewood Chader. Tell me do you never pay for a service in cash to get out of paying taxes? Shut the hell up, idiots!!


 Nov 01, 2006 at 09:47 AM Burnw Says:

I recently heard a rov say what Horav Aharon Kotler ztl said about those whose learning is paid for by tuition through not such ehriliche means.

I am sure the true and real old-timer Lakewooders are familair with what Rav A Kotler said as to why some are not matzliach in learning.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 09:45 AM Anonymous Says:

To anon 7:21 AM:
Public School is not free because our exorbitant taxes go to pay for it. Those who want to pay for a quality religious education support the public schools and they also have to pay tuition to send their children to school. Since education is mandatory and we can't send our kids to pub. school, we should get school vouchers. Do you know that before the holacaust in Germany and other European countries, Education was government funded even Jewish schools had free tuition funded by the gov't. I am not saying those schools were on par with the ones we have today, but, all schools should be funded by our tax money and we should be allowed to choose which schools to send our children to, secualr or religious, Just don't call them public schools. The gov't always has food programs so there is no reason not include the pre school kids. You should not be bashing Lakewood. Most people work for a living there and when you have a large family or even a small one, do you have any idea how much it costs to run a household? I work and my husband works and we still need some help. So stop bashing Lakewood.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 09:40 AM Anonymous Says:

People in Lakewood pay a lot of "school tax" but they don't benefit from the public school system. One of the few ways they can get at least a portion of their tax dollars back is through the school lunch program.

The tragedy of this situation is that the children involved here are actually eligible to receive lunch assistance. The problem is that the lunch program requires each "site" to apply seperately. Since many of these classes were remote off-campus sites they would each have to apply separately for the program. The problem with this is that many were situated in locations that are not designated for school use. One of the main requirements of the program is that the applicant must prove that the location is a legal school building. In order to avoid this problem the school merely listed the students on their main application as if they were located on the main campus. I am not going to judge whether what they did was right or wrong, but when the US Attorney boasts gleefuly that he cracked this major crime that stole money from the mouths of hungry children, it should be taken with a grain of salt. The children here were absolutely deserving and more eligible for the program than public school students because their parents pay more in school taxes than they get back from the governement.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 09:36 AM Anonymous Says:

why is this a chillul hashem. this is normal buisiness in lakewood including bmg. does it surprise u?


 Nov 01, 2006 at 08:54 AM Anonymous Says:

Wasn't this the school that recalled the book they sent out as a fundraiser, "My Uncle the Netziv", because of its references to the Netziv learning secular studies and reading the newspaper?

I'm glad they have their priorities straight.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 08:26 AM Anonymous Says:

Did they ask a shaileh from a Rav? Is it Daas Torah????


 Nov 01, 2006 at 07:53 AM is it kosher Says:

It seems from I read it was a problem of not having filled out the forms for the off-site chadorim.

Is it right? no
Should you bash the Cheder for it?, NO.

Genug iz genug.
Achrei mois-kedoishim emoir.



 Nov 01, 2006 at 07:21 AM Anonymous Says:

These poor people can't afford to feed their own children some lunch? They need the government to provide lunch? Does anyone in Lakewood have an actual job and support their own family? Why do they all need government hand outs? If you put your children in private schools that's your choice, then you should have to pay, not the tax payer. School vouchers, free lunches, food stamps, welfare, = if it's free it's for me? Is that the attitude? They shoud try getting jobs and work for a living. Public school children have to pay for their own lunches, why would private school children get free lunches? Private school is a luxury. If you can't afford children, don't have them and expect others to pay your way.
Annon and employed in Lakewood


 Nov 01, 2006 at 06:22 AM Anonymous Says:

history repeating itself again this hapend before in other yeshivas and camps chasidesh yeshivas as well


 Nov 01, 2006 at 03:19 AM bluecollar732 Says:

stop bashing lakewood! this does not mean that what happened was right.the cheder is comprised of "THe Lakewood CHEDER (boys) & Bais Faiga (girls)" there are more than 25 primary (pre1-a) classes.has this never happened in boro park ,flatbush or williamsburg?Before you bash lakewood come and spend some time here. The chasodim done here are un-paralled.Ask any eretz yisroeldiker mesulach of his experiences here.True that not everybody in kollel belongs there ,we do have a very high % of serious learners.many men do all the shopping and help the women.to generalize any one group is not fair !


 Nov 01, 2006 at 03:00 AM Anonymous Says:

If these pre school children were eligible to get government funded lunches, if the Cheder had them enrolled in classes, then it is not such a terrible thing that the Cheder did. The Cheder cannot possibly accomodate such a large student body and therefore these children go to private nurseries, but, they should be entitled to the lunch program, so the Cheder included them as if enrolled there.


 Nov 01, 2006 at 12:59 AM Anonymous Says:

Nevul Brshis Hatoireh- out of neccessity. Not enough people are working for a living (especially in Lakewood).

Let's all wake up and smell the coffee. We have to legitimize crime because we have no other way to eat and get by. It's the "we have to do what we have to do" mentality.

Toireh, at what cost?


 Oct 31, 2006 at 11:52 PM PassaicYid Says:

The truth about the yeshivish is all coming out


 Oct 31, 2006 at 11:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Treife chicken = Treife Gelt / what's the diffrence??
Maybe if we are careful with our money- (especially yeshivos) we wouldn't be zoche to eat treife chicken.


 Oct 31, 2006 at 11:05 PM Anonymous Says:



 Oct 31, 2006 at 10:45 PM Anonymous Says:

To 9:43
Are you saying that their kindergarten or pre-1-A is at an offsite location?

Does that offsite location qualify for the program?

Who was getting the benefit of the federal money? The cheder or the offsite program?

To 8:36
That only makes it worse!! Are you nuts?!?


 Oct 31, 2006 at 10:41 PM thekvetcher Says:

at least the mexican cant afford it. but the yidden shame shame shame


 Oct 31, 2006 at 10:40 PM thekvetcher Says:

once again fLAKEWOOD derech eretz kadmah ltoireh


 Oct 31, 2006 at 10:38 PM Shiduchim Crisis Says:

I believe that many playgroups which actually exist but have zoning problems or they were in illegal basements, but were under the Chader umbrella, where kids were fed off those lunch programs, and no money was stolen. However so as not to get these poor women’s Parnoso, and to save chillul Hashem, the Chader made a major sacrifice. The media picked up on it & the Loshon Hora club is enjoying it.
BTW the Chader is run by one individual, whom I think never learned in BMG, if he did it was not for long, he happened to be a big Tzadik, although I am not 100% sure of the above, but I have heard so on various occasions over the last few years.
Before you pass judgement, please get the facts. This is from someone with no children. [look at the name of my blog].


 Oct 31, 2006 at 10:36 PM Anonymous Says:

these are the same so called mechanchim that said Internet is treif unless you use it to get government programs. can't wait to hear the yeshivishe spin why it was "mooter" to lie and steal


 Oct 31, 2006 at 10:27 PM Anonymous Says:



 Oct 31, 2006 at 09:43 PM Anonymous Says:

In lakewond kids start school a year later. These kids were all eligible for lunches, they simply were by morahs rather than on the cheder premises. Still should not have been done, but certainly not as agregious as it it seems.


 Oct 31, 2006 at 09:42 PM Anonymous Says:

you got to be kidding i would never thing it could happen in lakewood.........lol


 Oct 31, 2006 at 09:28 PM Anonymous Says:

can't it be possible that they were only out of compliance on a technicality. It sounds like the kids were eligible just somebody didn't know to fill out one of a billion different govmnt forms


 Oct 31, 2006 at 09:27 PM Anonymous Says:

What a Chilul HaShem.
What kind of role models are these Yeshivos,Nebach,what a shame.Do they think these kids who are being fed with Treifene gelt will grow up into Yirei shamayim.They may have all kind of excuses ,but there is no Heter in the world for Geneiva.


 Oct 31, 2006 at 08:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Anti Semites


 Oct 31, 2006 at 08:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Oh, 'cmon it's just like the other back door dealings with properties & loans etc


 Oct 31, 2006 at 08:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Why would a yeshiva do such a thing? Preparing their students for future endeavors? What a chillul Hashem


 Oct 31, 2006 at 08:20 PM schmoozer Says:

Shame on them


 Oct 31, 2006 at 08:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Chillul Hashem.


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