Two senior administrators at a hasidic school in Brooklyn have admitted to scamming the federal government out of more than $3 million.
According to the New York Daily News, Elazar Porges and Joel Lowy admitted that they had inflated the costs of a school-lunch program for needy children at the Central United Talmudic Academy, a major school affiliated with the Satmar hasidic sect.
Porges told Judge Nicholas Garaufis while pleading guilty that he had only defrauded the government in order to help his school and claimed that he did not personally keep any of the illicit funds.
"I submitted an inflated claim of supper service knowing the amounts of meals claimed were not accurate," said Porges. "I know this is wrong and I’m sorry for having done this."
The pair are set to be sentenced in July and face between three and five years in prison.
The scheme, which went on from 2014 until 2016, involved inflating the number 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,” acting United States Attorney Bridget Rohde had said.