Six additional Lakewood residents were charged with welfare fraud, prosecutors announced Thursday, the third group of people from the town to face charges in two weeks.
The investigations were initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Red Bank Office and the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller, Medicaid Fraud Division, and were expanded to include the US Social Security Administration, New Jersey Department of the Treasury, Office of Criminal Investigation, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit. All were charged with third degree theft by deception. Those charged included:
- Eliezer, 33, and Elkie, 31, Sorotzkin of West Spruce Street for allegedly wrongfully collected approximately $74,960 in Medicaid benefits between January 2011 and December 2013.
- Samuel, 45, and Esther, 44, Serhofer of Whispering Pines Lane for allegedly wrongfully collecting approximately $72,685 in Medicaid benefits between January 2009 and December 2013.
- Yisroel, 37, and Rachel, 34, Merkin of Hermosa Drive for allegedly wrongfully collecting approximately $70,557.51 in Medicaid, SNAP, and HEAP benefits between January 2011 and December 2014.
- Jerome Menchel, 33, and Mottel Friedman, 30, of Pressburg Lane for allegedly wrongfully collecting $63,839 in Medicaid and SNAP benefits between January 2011 and July 2014.
- Tzvi, 35, and Estee, 34, Braun of Ridge Avenue for allegedly wrongfully collecting $62,746.74 in Medicaid, HEAP, and CICRF benefits between January 2009 and December 2013.
- Moshe, 30, and Nechama, 27, Hirschmann of Emmanuel Drive for allegedly wrongfully collecting $53,418.39 in Medicaid and SNAP benefits between January 2011 and December 2015.
According to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the defendants are all alleged to have misrepresented their income, declaring amounts that were low enough to receive the various programs’ benefits, when in fact their income was too high to qualify.
“The investigations revealed that the defendants received income from numerous sources that they failed to disclose on required program applications,” said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. “As a result, they received benefits that they were not entitled to under these programs for themselves or family members.”
The Ocean County Prosecutors Office is prosecuting the arrested individuals at the state level. This is the third round of arrests is a massive fraud investigation that has centered on Lakewood’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
Photos of the defendants were not available. They were not listed as inmates at the Ocean County Jail.