News and Press Releases

Union city real estate investor sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to launder money for pay to play contributions

April 14, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A Union City, N.J., real estate investor and property manager was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for conspiring to launder money in order to make contributions to public officials in Union City in exchange for favors, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Itzhak Friedlander, 43, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to launder money to conceal and disguise unlawful activity. Judge Linares also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Friedlander admitted that from June 2007 to August 2008, he conspired with government cooperating witness Solomon Dwek and co-conspirators Michael Altman and Shimon Haber to launder money from Dwek through Friedlander’s account at a purported charitable entity called Gmach Shefa Chaim. Dwek said the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities – namely, bank fraud, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and concealment of property from a federal bankruptcy court and trustee. The conspirators planned to funnel the money through Gmach Shefa Chaim to public officials in Union City in exchange for approvals to develop a Union City property. Friedlander admitted that the value of funds that he conspired to launder was approximately $175,000.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Friedlander to two years of supervised release.

Altman was sentenced on March 31, 2011, to 41 months in prison, and Haber was sentenced on May 25, 2010, to five months in prison and five months of home confinement for their respective roles in the conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, and IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Victor W. Lessoff, with the investigation that led to today’s sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Chao of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: Stacy Ann Biancamano, Esq; Timothy M. Donohue, Esq., West Orange, N.J.


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