A pair of top administrators in a well-known hasidic high school were indicted Thursday for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and four counts of mail fraud. The pair had been arrested in May for allegedly pocketing millions from a program intended to feed needy people.
Elazar Porges, 43, and Joel Lowy, 29, were both senior staff at the Central United Talmudic Academy, a major school affiliated with the Satmar hasidic sect. Prosecutors allege that they pocketed millions from the U.S. Child and Adult Care Food Program, an initiative meant to feed needy and at-risk children.
The scheme, which went on from 2014 until 2016, involved inflating the amount of free meals they were giving to children. While they had been offering only breakfast and lunch, they claimed to be offering suppers as well, and were reimbursed by the program to the tune of $3 million.
"The two allegedly obtained $3 million from a federal program designed to fund meals for needy children by claiming to have served meals they did not serve, thus undermining a program designed to assist the most vulnerable members of our community,” stated Acting United States Attorney Bridget Rohde.
The duo face 20 years in prison.