Two Ocean County, New Jersey, Couples Charged With Conspiring To Steal Government Funds
Arrests Part of Joint State and Federal Effort to Prosecute Public Assistance Fraud
TRENTON, N.J. – Two couples from Lakewood, New Jersey, were arrested this morning on charges that they failed to report their sizable incomes in order to fraudulently collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in public assistance benefits, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Rachel Sorotzkin, 32, and Mordechai Sorotzkin, 35, are charged by complaint with one count of conspiring to steal government funds. Yocheved Nussbaum, 40, and Shimon Nussbaum, 42, also of Lakewood, are charged in a separate complaint with one count of conspiring to steal government funds. The Sorotzkins and the Nussbaums, all of Lakewood, are expected to make their appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert in Trenton federal court.
According to the complaints:
From 2011 through 2014, Rachel and Mordechai Sorotzkin applied for and received Medicaid health insurance benefits for themselves and their children. After being approved for Medicaid benefits in August of 2011, the Sorotzkins received significant windfalls – including a lump sum payment of $1 million from Rachel Sorotzkin’s business in April of 2013 – which they failed to report to Medicaid officials. Despite earning in excess of $1 million in each of the 2012 and 2013 calendar years, the Sorotzkins continued to use their Medicaid cards, ultimately defrauding the government of approximately $96,000 in taxpayer-funded medical care.
In a separate scheme, Yocheved and Shimon Nussbaum applied for and received public benefits for themselves and their children from 2011 through 2014, despite their significant income. In the years prior to and during the conspiracy, the Nussbaums created a variety of companies that were nominally run by relatives but were actually controlled by the Nussbaums. They opened various bank accounts in the names of these companies and used funds from these accounts to cover personal expenses.
In applying for Medicaid, Section 8 housing, and SNAP food benefits, the Nussbaums grossly underreporting their true income by failing to include the income from these business accounts. Despite annual income of up to as high as approximately $1.8 million in 2013, the Nussbaums continued to receive taxpayer-funded health, housing and food benefits through August of 2014, ultimately defrauding the government of approximately $178,000.
The conspiracy counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
In related arrests also carried out this morning, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is charging four additional people at the state level for allegedly defrauding public assistance programs. Mordechai Breskin, 37, and Jocheved Breskin, 35, of Lakewood, are charged with 2nd degree theft by deception for wrongfully collecting approximately $585,662 in Medicaid, SNAP, HUD and SSI benefits between January 2009 through December 2014. Zalmen Sorotzkin, 39, and Tzipporah Sorotzkin, 35, of Lakewood, are charged with 2nd degree theft by deception for wrongfully collecting approximately $338,642 in Medicaid, SNAP, HUD and SSI benefits between January 2009 and April 2014.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato; the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller, under the direction of State Comptroller Philip James Degnan; the New Jersey Department of the Treasury – Office of Criminal Investigation; under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charles Giblin; the Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John Grasso; the Lakewood Police Department; and criminal investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly S. Lorber of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty