New Jersey: Informant Solomon Dwek Gets 6 Years
A New Jersey court has sentenced Solomon Dwek to six years in prison for fraud and money laundering. Dwek was convicted of trying to deposit two $25 million checks drawn on a closed account in 2006.
The fraud involving the check was found to be part of a massive Ponzi scheme involving real estate. Dwek, known as a brilliant investor, had built his real estate empire on lies, and owed his lenders and investors – among them friends and family – a total of more than $338 million.
After his crime was discovered, Dwek attempted to earn leniency by turning informant. For three years he worked undercover for the FBI, creating secret recordings of community members to uncover corruption and other crimes.
In 2009 the FBI swept in and arrested more than 40 people, including state legislators, mayors, candidates, and rabbis. Dwek testified at three of the subsequent trials.
Six of those accused due to his evidence have been acquitted or had charges dropped. One had died, and another fled police. Most were convicted or pled guilty, with most found guilty of money laundering or bribery.
Dwek was undone by a recent theft involving a rental car and by false testimony in court. The new offenses led to the loss of the protection he had been given in exchange for implicating others.
Dwek was facing a 9-11 year sentence, but his attorneys argued to have it reduced due to his mental illness. Dwek suffers from several mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, they argued.
Some members of the orthodox Jewish Syrian community where Dwek lived until his bail was revoked called for leniency as well. They noted that until his arrest Dwek was known for his kindness and generosity, and gave large sums of money to charitable causes.