Prominent Jewish Rabbi Pleads Guilty in Federal Extortion Case
A prominent Orthodox Jewish rabbi admits to conspiring to travel to New Jersey to coerce a Jewish man to give his wife a religious divorce. Rabbi Martin Wolmark of Yeshiva Shaarei Torah of Monsey, NY, plead guilty Wednesday, January 14 in Trenton federal court to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to commit extortion along with six co-conspirators.
According to a press release issued by New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, "On August 7, 2013, Wolmark, an ordained Orthodox Jewish rabbi, spoke with a woman and her brother about obtaining a Jewish divorce - referred to as a "get" - from the woman's recalcitrant husband. A get is a divorce document which, according to Jewish Law, must be presented by a husband to his wife to effect their divorce. Unbeknownst to Wolmark, the woman and the brother were actually undercover FBI agents."
Wolmark and co-conspirators allegedly made it clear that they planned to obtain the get by kidnapping the husband and coercing him through violence. The meetings, that took place over the course of several months through October 2013 were recorded by the female agent posing as the wife.
Six of the co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty to traveling to New Jersey to commit extortion in the case. The conspiracy count to which Wolmark pleaded guilty, carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for May 18, 2015.